THE RETURN OF THE INTERNET GHOUL
MONOLOGUE WRITTEN BY CLYDE LEWIS
Behind the success of many great works of fiction is making a convincing appeal to “fact,” or at least to somehow have a story transform into an everyday experience. Stories that are loosely based on factual events become some of the more successful movie scripts. There are also films and books that are inspired by events or other urban legends that take on a life of their own and somehow become part of the public story.
For example, in January of 1999, I was first introduced to the Blair Witch Project. I was fortunate enough to interview the director, Eduardo Sanchez and Heather Donahue who I thought was a producer of the film. I was caught up in all of the buzz and hype and thought at the time that an interview about the so-called true story would be a phenomenal show.
I was only halfway through the interview on the air when I realized that Heather was not a producer, but the girl who allegedly went missing, and whose photo was used in the promotional posters for the film.
It was confusing because I thought that all of the “missing” people that were on that poster died horrible deaths. I realized that I was fooled and that the interview was a big lie.
I was in a predicament because if I revealed the truth, I would spoil the movie for everyone, however, I felt morally obligated to tell my audience that the entire film is a bogus news story about three missing teenagers that run into some evil witch that haunts a forest.
The Blair Witch Project is, of course, far from the only creative work to so effectively confuse fiction and reality. Another notable example is Orson Welles’s infamous radio adaptation of The War of the Worlds.
I was actually involved with a Network TV and Netflix program called History’s Greatest Hoaxes. I was a featured guest and I actually reported that while the radio show was a hoaxed broadcast, there was a precedent that was set which actually perpetuated an already deep fear that a foreign enemy was plotting an attack on the United States.
The aliens were simply a metaphor that exploited the national fears of the Nazis making an attempt of taking over our country.
The excitable national response to “War of the World’s” was probably a lot less than what was printed in the press.
The reason this was so, was because the printed press, meaning newspapers were worried that radio was going to put them out of business and so they took it upon themselves to vilify radio and to make it public enemy number 1.
This is probably one of the first times in history, where a fake news broadcast was reported about by a press that successfully twisted the facts and lie in order to prop them up as the superior choice for news.
Newspapers were threatened by radio; they saw it as a flash in the pan medium that was encroaching on their territory. So, they were so fearful that the medium was going to replace them or destroy them they went out of their way to denigrate the medium of radio and the “War of the World’s broadcast gave them the ammunition they needed to claim that radio was reckless and full of fake news.
Doesn’t all of this sound familiar?
This is happening again for political reasons, and many of the legacy media outlets have declared war on the internet as being the supplier of fake news and conspiracy theories.
According to the article written by Rob Bailey-Millado, a team of psychologists from the UK’s Staffordshire University and the University of Kent are claiming that people who believe in conspiracy theories are more likely to commit crimes – or look the other way when they happen.
In addition, the psychologists claim that exposure to conspiracy theories was found to make people more apt to engage in low-level criminal activity. Researchers found that this tendency was “directly linked to an individual’s feeling of a lack of social cohesion or shared values, known as anomie.”
For the non-psycholinguists out there, anomie is defined as “the lack of the usual social or ethical standards in an individual or group.”
Or, as co-author Dan Jolley of Staffordshire put it, “People believing in conspiracy theories are more likely to be accepting of everyday crime, while exposure to theories increases a feeling of anomie, which in turn predicts increased future everyday crime intentions.”
This is once again an example of just how far highly paid critics and bought off technocrats will go to try and malign people who question the mainstream narrative.
This story about conspiracy theories and those who believe them was released on the heels of another story, where You Tube has decided to shut down revenue for what they deem as Anti-Vaccine Videos.
A while ago, lawmakers were calling on Facebook and Big Tech to take responsibility for anti-vaccine messaging that appear on their platforms saying that the conspiracy theory about vaccines causing health problems in children is causing the measles outbreak.
Lawmakers such as Democratic representative Adam Schiff are blaming the measles outbreak in the U.S. on social media systems that offer anti-vaccine messaging in their “recommended reading and groups” areas.
Talk about outrageous conspiracy theories.
BuzzFeed is reporting that YouTube will take a two-pronged approach to reduce the exposure of this type of messaging – first, demonetizing the videos, plus adding a stern warning from the World Health Organization on the videos.
This decision comes on the heels of YouTube being exposed for continuing to carry videos that show child exploitation. While the anti-vaccine videos haven’t been completely removed keeping them just short of child exploitation in the level of seriousness we can assume — this is a disturbing trend.
YouTube is being accused by YouTuber Matt Watson of enabling a softcore pedophile ring in plain sight. According to Watson, YouTube’s recommended algorithm is facilitating pedophiles’ ability to connect with each other, trade contact info, and link to actual child pornography in the comments.
Watson also posted an in-depth video explaining how pedophiles are able to manipulate YouTube’s video recommendation algorithm to redirect a search for “bikini haul” videos, featuring adult women, to exploitative clips of children participating in sexually suggestive behavior — such as posing in front of mirrors and doing gymnastics and “yoga stretching.”
Then there are the innocuous videos with inappropriate comments from pedophiles, including some with timestamps capturing children in compromising positions.
Back in August of 2018, Ground Zero reported that parents who allow their children to watch continuous play children’s videos on YouTube run the risk of having inappropriate content show up randomly exposing a child to child pornography – or videos of a terrifying internet ghoul called MOMO.
In the show called “Dreams Of MOMO,” and in it I reported that last August there appeared to be someone or something that has taken over the internet – something I felt you couldn’t necessarily call out and point a finger at but if you take the time, you would see that something is using YouTube to systematically frighten, traumatize, and program children.
I cited one particular innocuous video that featured the “five finger family” a very popular video with very young children.
At the time there were at least 17 million versions of this song on YouTube. I did some research on the Finger family videos and I discovered that there were duplicate videos in some cases that were made by bots. They also were viewed by Bots and are even commented by Bots in order to secure millions of views. The view count would entice young people to watch more and lure them into the continuous view mode of what can be seen as harmless videos.
However in the continuous play mode Children were also invited to watch Five Finger family videos where the families are replaced by serial killers, filling the five-fingered spot, those featured were Charles Manson, Ted Bundy to name a few. One features Donald Trump, the devil, Leather Face, Freddy Kruger, Jason Voorhees, Michael Meyers, Pennywise the clown and Hitler.
Now here is where it got creepy.
Bots were creating offensive ads that were linked in the videos – the ads were selling products to kids that may or may not have existed.
One ad featured the sale of adult diapers worn by old men with crutches and an iPhone case thrown in for free.
There was another ad that was reportedly linked in a children’s video that was an ad for T-shirts that said “Keep Calm and Rape A Lot” on the front.
All of these links when to Amazon.
The Amazon offer of the diapers worn by old men was actually from a German company that somehow was able to get their ads into the mix on Amazon.
They also were peddling sex toys as well. They have since been taken down.
Likewise, the case of the “Keep Calm and Rape A Lot” t-shirts along with the “Keep Calm and Knife Her” and “Keep Calm and Hit Her” ones were actually made by Bots. Nobody set out to create these shirts: the bots just paired an unchecked list of verbs and pronouns with an online image generator.
It’s quite possible that none of these shirts ever physically existed, were ever purchased or worn, and thus Amazon claimed that no harm was done. Once again though, the people filtering content failed to notice, and neither did the distributor. They literally had no idea what they were doing.
It appears that Bots are doing some very curious things and when they are not watched or check they can certainly harm kids.
The question is, was Watson’s observations about child exploitation and pedophilia linked to Children’s videos – that last summer were featuring clips that went under the radar exposing children to violent or lurid content?
This was happening at the same time another terrifying challenge was reported to be terrifying children and adults online –and that was the MOMO challenge.
It was the successor to the deadly Blue Whale Challenge that actually programmed young people to commit suicide.
“MOMO”, first appeared on the messaging application WhatsApp.
MOMO was terrifying because of how it was interactive and those who play are encouraged to use Facetime to contact MOMO, which appeared as a hideous looking demonic figure, with deep-set bulging eyes and an exaggerated smile – the image is based on a sculpture that was created in Japan.
Now, MOMO has surfaced again, however this time the internet Ghoul has allegedly shown up on YouTube. The claim is that MOMO now has appeared in short videos that are hidden in children’s videos that wind up in continuous play.
Tuesday, I was inundated with e-mails and Facebook Posts asking what I knew about MOMO and what should they tell their kids – I was shocked because I thought that MOMO material was successfully removed from the internet in September of 2018.
On Tuesday afternoon, a Twitter user going by the name of Wanda Maximoff whipped out her iPhone and posted the image of MOMO in a message to parents.
The message read, “Warning! Please read, this is real,” she tweeted. “There is a thing called ‘Momo’ that’s instructing kids to kill themselves,” the attached screenshot of a Facebook post reads. “INFORM EVERYONE YOU CAN.”
Maximoff’s plea was retweeted more than 22,000 times, and the screenshot, featuring the creepy face of “Momo,” has spread like wildfire across the internet. Local news hopped on the story Wednesday, amplifying it to millions of terrified parents.
Kim Kardashian even posted a warning about the so-called Momo challenge to her 129 million Instagram followers.
MOMO apparently has returned in a way that is reminiscent of the Orson Wells War of the World’s broadcast of the 1930s.
MOMO’s glory happened in August of 2018 and apparently was responsible for the deaths of a few children around the world. There was really no one who was found to be responsible for the ghoulish game but for a while it was a very real nightmare for parents.
Now it has returned amidst controversy over child exploitation on YouTube. It seems that timing is everything with its return.
However, the rise of MOMO has given way to conflicting reports.
According to a recent article in the Atlantic, the whole MOMO hysteria is a massive internet hoax based on a statement provided by YouTube:
The MOMO challenge wasn’t real then, and it isn’t real now. YouTube confirmed that, contrary to press reports, it hasn’t seen any evidence of videos showing or promoting the “MOMO challenge” on its platform. If the videos did exist, a spokesperson for YouTube said, they would be removed instantly for violating the platform’s policies.
They also claim that no one has been killed or has committed suicide from the challenge.
This is a lie.
In August we reported that the suicide of a 12-year-old girl in Argentina was allegedly linked to the game. The girl filmed a video on her phone shortly before she died, the Buenos Aires Times reported.
The girl filmed her activities prior to hanging herself from a tree in her family’s backyard. Authorities suspected that someone encouraged her to commit suicide.
The authorities called the MOMO event an elaborate fishing scheme where MOMO would blackmail victims into suicide.
Mexican authorities allegedly issued an information campaign to warn young people and parents about MOMO.
The Computer Crime Unit of Tabasco said criminals were using MOMO to steal personal information and generate psychological disorders.
Kids were claiming to have face time chats with MOMO and many were done in jest.
Many of the videos have since been taken down.
The Atlantic also makes claims that the hysteria of teens eating toxic Tide Pods was a hoax and that kids were not doing it even though there were videos all over the net showing it and that Chuck Schumer urged the Consumer Product Safety Commission should do something about detergent companies whose super concentrated cleanser “pods” look so much like candy; in fact, Chuck Schumer said he even was tempted to bite into one.
Atlantic also says that the cinnamon challenge was also a hoax as was the challenge of snorting condoms.
Meanwhile, MOMO is not the only character that is showing up telling kids to off themselves – some people claim that a snippet from internet character “Filthy Fred” is showing up in videos showing kids how to slit their wrists.
The sinister content was first flagged by doctors on the pediatrician-run parenting blog pedimom.com and later reported by the Washington Post.
An anonymous “physician mother” initially spotted the content while watching cartoons with her son on YouTube Kids as a distraction while he had a nosebleed.
Four minutes and forty-five seconds into a video, the cartoon cut away to a clip of a man, who many readers have pointed out resembles Internet personality, “Filthy Frank.”
He walks onto the screen and simulates cutting his wrist. “Remember, kids, sideways for attention, longways for results,” he says and then walks off screen. The video then quickly flips back to the cartoon.
Again, a few media outlets and some Facebook user are demanding poof – no one can find the videos that are allegedly being shown.
The old saying goes that absence of proof is not necessarily proof of absence with the allegations of child exploitation videos being played on YouTube – this may be a case of active revenge against a platform that has demonetized videos put out by conservatives, conspiracy theorists and Antivaxxers.
MOMO may be a hoax or even a myth but it may have been resurrected to send a message that something is wrong at YouTube.
Also, it appears Facebook and Google are also under fire by the British government.
The British government plans to hit social-media firms with fines potentially worth billions of dollars if they fail to rid their platforms of content considered harmful.
UK ministers are planning to establish a powerful new tech regulator meant to be independent of government. It will make determinations about what constitutes harmful content and dish out penalties for firms that fail to take swift action in removing inappropriate posts.
This new tech regulator will be given the ability to level fines of up to 4% of global revenue for significant data breaches and transmitting inappropriate material aimed at children.
For Facebook, this would represent a penalty of up to $2.2 billion on its 2018 revenue of $55.8 billion. It would be even higher for Google, with 4% representing $5.4 billion of the parent company Alphabet’s 2018 revenue of $136.8 billion.
So much fanfare for an elaborate hoax.
It looks like MOMO’s return has prompted authorities to take action against social platforms that are grooming the children and exposing them to violence and pedophilia.