Alcohol services in Liverpool are calling for more to be done about the social-networking craze ‘Neknominate’, following the deaths of two people in the UK.
The viral trend, which started between college students in Australia, made its way to UK shores earlier this year and has seen young people drinking dangerous amounts of alcohol and other substances, such as washing-up liquid, cough syrup and even faeces.
The game involves people being dared to film themselves downing a pint, posting the video on Facebook and then nominating two friends to do the same. However, videos are now escalating as people try to out-do each other – with lethal consequences.
A spokesperson for Liverpool Alcohol Recovery told JMU Journalism: “The trend is a worrying one and we have to hope, like most trends, it ends sooner than later. Facebook should absolutely be doing something to tackle this.
“Young people are being pressured into producing bigger, more dangerous acts so they can outdo each other. I hope the news of the deaths deters some people from taking part.”
The plea to take action comes after the news that police are investigating the deaths of the first two British victims of the craze. Isaac Richardson, 20, and Stephen Brookes, 29, both died after taking part in the game last weekend. The deaths of two Irish people have also been linked to the game.
Natasha Clarke, an alcohol researcher from University of Liverpool, said in her blog: “The potential danger depends on age, gender, drinking experience, and short-term aspects, such as whether a person has eaten.
“You can imagine what could happen when an impressionable 16-year-old boy sees a video of a 22-year-old man on Facebook downing a pint of hard spirit and decides to copy.”
Experts at the Liverpool Alcohol Recovery scheme are also worried about the effect the craze could have on recovering alcoholics.
They told JMU Journalism: “It is a worry that the people we serve and help could be lured back into a life of drinking. Hopefully, the dedicated service we provide will mean that won’t happen.”
A Facebook group, ‘Stop Nek Nominate’, which urges the social media giant to take action against the growing trend, received over 50,000 likes in just 48 hours.
Facebook revealed that it was reviewing some of the videos that had been posted in relation to Neknominate, but also claimed that the videos were not a breach of its rules or community guidelines.
They said in a statement: “We do not tolerate content which is directly harmful, for example bullying, but controversial or offensive behaviour is not necessarily against our rules.”