The insidious online Blue Whale Challenge (Game) has changed the mindset of vulnerable teenagers and young adults in their formative years who aspire to be part of something bigger than what they could achieve. This fatal game with its origin in Russia exploits this weakness.
The Blue Whale Game began in Russia in 2013 with “F57”, one of the names of the so-called “death group” of the VKontakte, the largest European online social media and social networking site that offers services in several languages, and is very popular especially among those who speak Russian.
The game is also known by other names such as “Blue Whale Suicide,” “F57“, “A Silent House,” “A Sea Of Whales,” and “Wake Me Up At 4:20 am” and allegedly caused its first suicide on Christmas Day 2015 when 12-year-old Angelina Davydova, fell to her death from the 14th floor of a block in central Russia. She was a member of the user group called ‘Wake Me Up at 4.20 am‘ which had more than a quarter of a million subscribers before it was blocked.
In 2016, Blue Whale game came into broader use among Russian teenagers after a journalist brought attention to it through an article that linked many unrelated suicide victims to the Blue Whale game, creating a wave of moral panic in Russia.
Philipp Budeikin aka Philipp Lis (Fox), an innocent looking 21-year-old young Russian Psychology student who was expelled from his university claimed that he invented this Internet suicide game in 2013 in which the player is given certain tasks to complete during a period of 50 days. Since then he polished his tactics of recruiting. Now, the final task leads the player to commit suicide.
Philipp and his aides at first attracted as many children as possible into the VK (social media) groups by using mega-scary videos. Then they chose those who would be the most affected by psychological manipulation. They knew that out of 20,000 people, their audience would be only 20 people or 0.1%.
The administrators of the death group referred to the children they pushed to commit suicide as ‘biological waste‘.
In July 2017, Philipp Budeikin was arrested and he pleaded guilty to “inciting at least 16 teenage girls to commit suicide”. This led to the Russian suicide prevention legislation and also rekindled worldwide concern over the Blue Whale suicide phenomenon.
After getting arrested the 21-year-old did not exhibit a single sign of remorse on his face. After confessing to the crimes in a statement to the police he said that he thinks his young female victims were ‘happy to die‘ and that he was ‘cleansing the society‘ by pushing to suicide those he considered as ‘biological waste‘.
While being held at Kresty jail in St Petersburg the inventor of this suicide-inducing ‘game’, received dozens of love letters from teenage girls.
He is not thought to be the only organiser and according to BBC understands more people are being looked for in connection with these so-called “death groups”.
On February 21, 2017, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), a United States government-funded broadcasting organization that provides news, information, and analysis to countries in Eastern Europe, Central Asia and the Middle East, reported that people are finding curators by using the Russian-language hashtags of “blue whale,” “sea of whales,” “I’m in the game,” “Wake me at 4:20 am,” “F58,” along with many others and that there were 4,000 searches for the hashtags on January 20, 2017, alone.
The often seen flying whale is said to be a chosen symbol due to whales committing suicide by jumping out of the water and beaching themselves on land. It is said that the whales are going to freedom.
An RFE/RL correspondent after creating a fake profile for a 15-year-old girl on the popular Russian social media site VKontakte spoke to a so-called curator of the Blue Whale game.
RFE/RL correspondent: “I want to play the game.“
Curator: “Are you sure? There is no way back.”
RFE/RL correspondent: “Yes. What does that mean — no way back?”
Curator: “You can’t leave the game once you begin.”
RFE/RL correspondent: “I’m ready.”
Then the curator explained the rules.
“You carry out each task diligently, and no one must know about it. When you finish a task, you send me a photo. And at the end of the game, you die. Are you ready?”
RFE/RL correspondent: “And if I want to get out?”
Curator: “I have all your information. They will come after you.”
Over the course of a week, RFE/RL claimed they managed to speak to over a dozen people who claimed to be either players or curators.
Here is the list of 50 challenges of the Blue Whale Game that force players to commit suicide.
1. Carve with a razor “F57” or “F58” on your hand, send a photo to the curator.
Note: An RFE/RL correspondent responded by sending a photoshopped picture to prove the completion of the task, and the communication with the curator ended.
2. Wake up at 4:20 a.m. and watch psychedelic and scary videos that curator sends you.
3. Cut your arm with a razor along your veins, but not too deep, only 3 cuts, send a photo to the curator.
Note: Click on the link below to see a video about the task#3. The video contains graphic and disturbing scenes that may not be acceptable for all audiences. In this video, as strange music plays in the background an arm that appears with a presumably self-induced deep cut across the wrist. The hand moves forcing blood to leak from the wound.
4. Draw a whale on a piece of paper, send a photo to the curator.
5. If you are ready to become a whale, carve YES on your leg. If not, cut yourself many times (punish yourself).
6. A task with a cipher.
7. Carve F40 on your hand, send a photo to the curator.
8. Type #i_am_whale in your VKontakte (a Russian social network) status.
9. You have to overcome your fear.
10. Wake up at 4 a.m. and go to a roof (the higher the better)
11. Carve a whale on your hand with a razor, send a photo to the curator.
12. Watch psychedelic and horror videos all day.
13. Listen to music that curator sends you.
14. Cut your lip.
15. Poke your hand with a needle many times.
16. Do something painful to yourself, make yourself sick.
17. Go to the highest roof you can find, stand on the edge for some time.
18. Go to a bridge, stand on the edge.
19. Climb up a crane or at least try to do it.
20. The curator checks if you are trustworthy.
21. Have a talk with a whale (with another blue game player) in Skype.
22. Go to a roof and sit on the edge with your legs dangling.
23. Another task with a cipher.
24. Secret task.
25. Have a meeting with a whale.
26. The curator tells you the date of your death and you have to accept it.
27. Wake up at 4:20 a.m. and visit any railroad near you.
28. Don’t talk to anyone all day.
29. Make a vow that you are a whale
From 30th to 49th day wake up at 4:20 a.m., watch horror videos, listen to music that the curator sends you, make 1 cut on your body, talk to a whale.
50. Kill yourself by jump off a high building, or by hanging from a noose, or go under a train or swallowing negative side tablets. Take your whale.
- Blue Whale (game) (en.wikipedia.org)
- VK (social networking) (en.wikipedia.org)
- Blue Whale Suicide Game: All You Need to Know About This Deadly Internet Game (asia96.com)
- (SUICIDES) DOWNLOAD BLUE WHALE GAME, CHALLENGES (TASK): EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW 2017 (techkyuniverse.com)
- Blue Whale suicide ‘game’ ringleader is jailed for three years in Russia for inciting young people to kill themselves (dailymail.co.uk)
- A look at #F57 #F58 and the Blue Whale Suicide Game (thedailyhaze.com)
- Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (en.wikipedia.org)
- Blue whale challenge administrator pleads guilty to inciting suicide (bbc.co.uk)