Neknomination: Facebook responds to craze after deaths

Pressure groups demand social media giant take action after the death of an Irish teenager was linked to the drinking game

Facebook has rejected calls to ban pages and videos linked to the Neknomination craze, which encourages users to post videos of themselves carrying out stunts while inebriated – despite the death of a teenager in Ireland being linked to the drinking game.

Communications Minister Pat Rabbitte demanded the social networking giant act as a raft of interest groups including health chiefs and psychiatrists called for the phenomenon to be stopped.

Jonny Byrne, 19, from County Carlow, Ireland, was believed to have been taking part in the Neknomination craze when he jumped into the River Barrow and died on Saturday.

The drinking game encourages participants to film themselves “ necking” liquor while performing a stunt, before nominating a friend to do the same. Jonny had jumped in the river after downing a pint of alcohol.

A Facebook spokesperson said: "We do not tolerate content which is directly harmful, for example bullying, but controversial or offensive behaviour is not necessarily against our rules.

"We encourage people to report things to us which they feel breaks our rules so we can review and take action on a case by case basis. We also give people the ability to remove themselves from an uncomfortable conversation through tools such as untagging and blocking."

Mr Rabbitte said the first responsibility is with young people falling for a "stupid ruse".

But he added: "But it would be helpful if Facebook agreed to take down pages, which promote a stupid and silly phenomenon."

Jonny Byrne’s brother, Patrick,  posted a message on his Facebook page, urging people to stop taking part in the challenge.

“This neck nomination s*** HAS TO STOP RIGHT NOW my young 19 year old brother Jonny Byrne from Carlow died tonight in the middle of his nomination.

“He thought he had to try and beat the competition and after he necked his pint he jumped into the river. If people have any decency and respect they will refrain from anymore of this stupid nek nomination” he said.

He also changed his profile page to say "Stop 'Neknomination' Before it's too Late. Share This."

The individuals behind the Northern Ireland based Neknomination Facebook page have said that it will be discontinued following Jonny’s death and turned into an alcohol awareness page.

And the Union of Students in Ireland has warned young people of the dangers of taking part and the impact this may have on other people.

Neknomination, which acts like an online video linked chain mail,  to have originated in Australia, from where it has spread to the UK and Ireland.

Pressure groups, health agencies, ministers and interest groups all spoke out over the last 24 hours urging young people not to get involved in the practice.

Professor Frank Murray, of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland, said more deaths are likely from such extreme binge drinking.

"The loss of a young person is tragic; never more so when it is completely avoidable. Sadly, this extreme binge drinking will likely lead to more deaths," he said.

Children’s Minister, Frances Fitzgerlad, also voiced her concerns. She told RTE: “It is a highly dangerous – potentially lethal – phenomenon, where an inappropriate peer pressure element adds to the risks.”

The Vintners' Federation of Ireland said the craze is wrong and dangerous and it undermines efforts to implement the sensible and responsible enjoyment of alcohol.

"On the one hand, we would appeal to Facebook and indeed all social media platforms to take the necessary action to have it discontinued. On the other hand, we would appeal to the individual to take a greater degree of responsibility for their own actions," the group said.

Northern Ireland's Public Health Agency also warned the craze can be highly dangerous.

"Real friends don't Neknominate. You have the right to say 'No'. Join the thousands of others who are standing up against this 'game'," a spokeswoman said.

"Drinking 'games' are not new, but they have the potential to quickly increase consumption of alcohol and this can be highly dangerous."

Additional reporting by Press Association

 

Sport
The sun rises over St Andrews golf course, but will it be a new dawn for the Royal and Ancient Golf Club?
sportAnd it's Yes to women (at the R&A)
Arts and Entertainment
Friends is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year
tvSeries celebrates 20th anniversary
Sport
Yaya Touré (left) and Bayern Munich’s Spanish defender Juan Bernat
footballToure's lack of defensive work is big problem for City
Voices
voicesApple continually kill off smaller app developers, and that's no good for anyone
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't
tv

Liam Neeson's Downton dreams

Sport
Wembley Stadium
footballNews follows deal with Germany
Arts and Entertainment
A spell in the sun: Emma Stone and Colin Firth star in ‘Magic in the Moonlight’
filmReview: Magic In The Moonlight
Sport
A 'Sir Alex Feguson' tattoo
football

Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear
tv

Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage

Life and Style
life

News
ScienceGallery: Otherwise known as 'the best damn photos of space you'll see till 2015'
Life and Style
fashion

Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Volunteer your expertise as Trustee for The Society of Experimental Biology

Unpaid Voluntary Position : Reach Volunteering: Promising volunteer Trustee op...

Email Designer

£30000 - £35000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...

Psychology Teacher

£110 - £130 per hour: Randstad Education Reading: Psychology Teacher needed fo...

Food Technology Teacher

£85 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: Randstad Education are curren...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week