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Facebook investigates new social media game where teens pretend to disappear for 48 hours

Is it real or a hoax?

By Holly Royce

The 48-hour-challenge is allegedly a new social media trend where children pretend to disappear for 48-hours but is it just a hoax?

Widely reported in the UK, the game encourages children/teens to go missing for two days, points are then awarded for every mention their disappearance gets on social media from well-meaning friends and family worried as to their whereabouts.

Facebook has reported they are addressing the issue, explaining that regardless of whether or not the game was a hoax, the safety of young people online was their priority.

A spokesperson from Facebook said, "We work closely with safety experts including the NPSCC, the UK Safer Internet Centre, Missing People, Childnet and many more to help young people have a positive experience on Facebook, and collaborate closely with law enforcement agencies on issues regarding child safety."

While this all sounds very concerning, there has been no officially reported cases of teens playing the game.

The 48-hour challenge is thought to be inspired by 2005's 72-Hour Challenge which worked using the same premises, points being awarded to teen for parental distress.Snopes, an internet fact-checking website has dismissed both 'games' as urban legends.

Snopes debunked the cases of missing children which had been "reported" as playing the game and point out that it is "tabloids" who are warning parents about the game, not the police.

While it's good to see such a proactive reaction from Facebook it's disappointing to see such a serious issue, such as missing children, trivialised in such a thoughtless fashion.

If you're concerned about a missing person head to the National Missing Persons Coordination centre website.