The 'Momo challenge' appears to be back in the news with messages on WhatsApp warning parents that the creepy Momo character randomly appears in the middle of YouTube videos of the popular children's cartoon 'Peppa Pig'.
The 'Momo challenge', which caused a scare among parents in 2017 and 2018, is an internet hoax that purports to be an online suicide game. BOOM had previously investigated the same in 2018 and found no evidence that the so-called game could be directly linked to any suicide. (Read more here)
BOOM's fact-check shows that while the Momo challenge continues to be a hoax, prank videos by individual users where Momo imagery has been edited into Peppa Pig cartoons is visible on YouTube.
The latest reincarnation of the Momo challenge is a WhatsApp message that claims, "Dear parents if your kids watches you tube pepa pig or any other videos plz be careful as sometimes the (momo) character is appearing in the middle of the show and it's asking the kids to do bad things."
A video that BOOM watched begins with a person watching a Peppa Pig episode on YouTube on their phone. In the episode, Peppa Pig's family is out on a picnic when suddenly the Momo character appears instructing the viewer to harm themselves.
BOOM searched with relevant key words and found several similar videos on Facebook claiming the same.
A YouTube account called 'Heather Harbajan' created the video. A Google search for the channel 'Heather Harbajan' seen in the viral WhatsApp clip shows that the channel and all of its videos have been taken down by YouTube for violating the platform's community guidelines.
The official YouTube channel of the British animated series Peppa Pig named 'Peppa Pig - Official Channel' is different from the YouTube channel spotted in the viral video.
Additionally, BOOM checked 10 episodes uploaded on Peppa Pig Official Channel and did not spot the Momo character appearing in them or "hacked" as suggested by this Times Of India piece. (Click here for an archived version of the story)
What YouTube Has Said So Far
YouTube on February 27, 2019 tweeted hat they had found no recent evidence of videos promoting the Momo challenge on YouTube.
Momo Content Still Visible On YouTube
Despite YouTube's statements BOOM found that by searching for 'Peppa Pig Vs Momo' or 'Peppa Pig and Momo', disturbing content can still be found on the platform.
Additionally, a search for 'Peppa Pig Momo' shows a video uploaded by the channel 'RyVer Lure' in 2017 wherein Pappa Pig, Peppa Pig's father, kill his wife. The video has around 6.3 lakh views. The video can be found on the first page of the search results.
A recent video uploaded by the same channel titled 'Peppa pig Vs Momo', has Momo imagery appear in a clipping taken from a Peppa Pig episode.
In addition, user-led fact checks also show up in the search results.
BOOM reached out to Peppa Pig's official YouTube channel and Google India. We will update the story upon receiving a response.
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