Social networking site Facebook has come in for criticism from the Irish government after it refused to take down videos of the ‘neknomination’ craze that has swept the country and already resulted in at least one death.
Communications Minister Pat Rabbitte and Children’s Minister Frances Fitzgerald had both requested that Facebook remove the videos glorifying the online drinking dare game.
In response Facebook told the Irish Times newspaper that it has ‘no immediate plans to take down videos of people participating in the neknomination drinking game’ as they do not breach its rules or community standards.
Minister Rabbitte had called on Facebook to introduce a ban on pages promoting what he called the ‘stupid and silly phenomenon.’
Police believe the death of a young man in Carlow was a direct result of a ‘neknomination’ dare.
But they say the death of a 22-year-old man in Dublin in recent days is not linked to the activity, which involves people filming themselves drinking large quantities of alcohol, mainly spirits, posting the video online and then nominating someone else to do the same.
Ireland’s Prime Minister Enda Kenny appealed to young people to boycott the game as it ‘could end your life.’
The Irish Times report says that Facebook is reviewing videos linked to the craze, but that the posting of such material is not regarded by the company as a breach of its rules or ‘community standards.’
A statement from the company said, “At Facebook we try to be a platform where people can share freely whilst still protecting the rights of others. We do not tolerate content which is directly harmful, for example bullying, but controversial or offensive behavior 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.”
Minister for Children Frances Fitzgerald confirmed to the paper that her officials were in contact with the social networking site.
The report adds that a spokeswoman said while Facebook had declined to take down pages and videos, they advised the Minister that they may intervene if ‘bullying or coercive behaviour’ relating to ‘neknomination’ is reported to it.