The Local Government Association has called on Facebook and Twitter to introduce warnings alongside drinking game 'Neknominate' videos. The LGA urged executives from the two social media sites to meet and discuss a way to ensure warnings accompany any Neknominate videos.
Neknominate involves people filming themselves downing alcohol, often while pulling stunts, and then nominating friends to respond within 24 hours. However the social media craze has been linked to up to five deaths in the UK and involved children as young as ten.
The LGA said some schools had asked for warning notices about neknominate to be put on noticeboards and read out at assemblies. Drinkaware have issued advice on what to do if nominated, and called on parents to take a tough stance against the game over fears that young teenagers are under pressure to take part. Alcohol Concern warned of the challenge ahead in de-normalising binge drinking.
However warnings are unlikely to significantly alter Neknominate activity given the limited effectiveness of educational approaches in changing behaviours. Indeed the 'fad' may have passed by the time any action is taken by social media sites who have shown no signs of doing so. An Independent story exploring whether prosecution for a Neknominate dare resulting in death would be possible, claimed that "Facebook timelines [are] steadily emptying of Neknominate clips as the trend loses momentum". Yet this analysis doesn't support any indication of decline in the UK.
Interestingly the main Neknominate Facebook page has since been changed so that the nomination is meant to prompt a random act of kindness. 'Donate & Nominate' has also gained some attention as a blood donation trend. So whether Neknominate quickly dies off, or grows further globally, remains to be seen.