The government has directed internet majors Google, Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, Microsoft and Yahoo to immediately remove links of the dangerous online game Blue Whale Challenge, which has led to suicides of children in India and other countries.
"Instances of children committing suicide while playing Blue Whale Challenge have been reported in India...You are hereby requested to ensure that any such link of this deadly game in its own name or similar game is immediately removed from your platform," the Ministry of Electronics and IT (Meity) said in a letter to the internet majors.
The letter, dated August 11, was issued following instructions from IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, an official source said.
The Blue Whale Challenge is a suicide game in which the player is given certain tasks to complete for a period of 50 days and the final task leads to suicide. The player is asked to share photos after finishing the different levels of the game. The game is spread via links on social media platforms.
Expressing concern on availability of such a deadly game on the internet, Meity said, "it is understood that an administrator of the game uses social media platform to invite /incite children to play this game, which may eventually lead them to take extreme steps for self inflicting injuries, including suicide".
Mumbai and West Midnapore district have reported deaths linked to this game.
Meity said the proponent of Blue Whale Challenge should be reported to law enforcement agencies.
Internet Service Provider Association of India's President Rajesh Chharia appreciated the government's move for issuing the order to block the game.
"Social media companies should not have waited for the order of the government. They should have checked proliferation of such a game as it is their duty to make internet safe. Government order is highly appreciable and a great order for the present and future generations of the country," Chharia said.
Mumbai-based cyber specialist Prashant Mali said the episode has highlighted the need for a gaming regulator.
"Though a late and reactive decision,... this is a very good move. I feel we need a gaming regulator. All gaming content which is suited to our cultural ethos and laws should be allowed in Indian cyber space," Mali said.
(This article has not been edited by Zeebiz editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)