- The Blue Whale Game, also “Blue Whale Challenge”, is an Internet “game” that is claimed to exist in several countries.
- The game allegedly consists of a series of tasks assigned to players by administrators during a 50-day period, with the final challenge requiring the player to commit suicide.
- The term “Blue Whale” comes from the phenomenon of beached whales, which is linked to suicide.
- Blue Whale began in Russia in 2013 with “F57”, one of the names of the so-called “death group” of the VKontakte social network, and allegedly caused its first suicide in 2015. Philipp Budeikin, a former psychology student who was expelled from his university, claimed that he invented the game. Budeikin stated that his purpose was to “clean” the society by pushing to suicide those he deemed as having no value.
- In Russia in 2016, Blue Whale came into broader use among teenagers after a journalist brought attention to it through an article that linked many unrelated suicide victims to the Blue Whale, creating a wave of moral panic in Russia.
- Later, Budeikin was arrested and pled guilty to “inciting at least 16 teenage girls to commit suicide”, leading to Russian suicide prevention legislation and renewed world-wide concern over the Blue Whale phenomenon.
- It has also been linked to other rising self-harm trends, such as “human embroidery” in China.