An innocuous children’s game is the latest target of the ire of angry online Indians.
Blue Whale Simulator 3D, a relatively unknown app which lets children control their own blue whale while swimming around the ocean, has been mistaken for the Blue Whale game, which allegedly caused the death of a Mumbai teen this week. Hundreds of angry Indians are now hitting the game with one-star reviews and harsh reviews on the Play Store. The game’s rating has fallen to 2.4, with as many as 501 one-star ratings.
“My humble request This game should be removed from Google play store as soon as possible, before any other children dies on this earth,” said Sarthak Shah, while rating it one star. “DoNT DOWNLOAD THIS GAME IST A LIFE END GAME,” wrote Shamith Suvarna.
Sadly, Blue Whale Simulator 3D has nothing to do with the Blue Whale game, which originated in Russia and is allegedly behind the deaths of 130 children. For starters, the killer Blue Whale game isn’t an app that can be downloaded on a phone — it surfaced on VKontackt, Russia’s version of Facebook. Blue Whale is more of an online challenge, which asks participants to complete 50 tasks.
The first few tasks are simple, such as getting up at 4:20 in the morning, and watching a horror movie. The tasks then rapidly escalate — some involve self harm, such as carving letters on your body, while others ask participants to stand on the roof. The 50th and final task asks participants to commit suicide.
This game is believed to be behind the death of a Mumbai teen. On 31st July, a 14-year old boy had jumped to his death from an Andheri apartment. While no suicide note was found, his friends on WhatsApp groups had speculated that the Blue Whale game could’ve caused him to commit suicide. The news had been picked up by several outlets, and had gone viral over the last few days. Cops were still investigating the case.
But that hasn’t stopped a bunch of Indians from protesting against the first thing they could find on the Play Store that sounded somewhat like Blue Whale. Hitting companies with one star ratings has become the preferred method of protest for the digital Indian — in 2016, Snapdeal had received thousands of poor ratings after Aamir Khan, its brand ambassador, had allegedly made anti-national comments; this year, Snapchat had to face a similar backlash after its CEO was quoted to have said that India was too poor for Snapchat to expand into.
At times, angry mobs don’t even choose the right target for their attacks. During the Snapchat fracas, some Indians had mistakenly vented their ire at Snapdeal, confusing the two companies. And now, an obscure children’s game unfortunate to be named similar to a killer online challenge is facing the wrath of the angry digital Indian.