No one grinds a porcelain dish to a fine powder and inhales it like cocaine. I repeat, no one – not the kids in your seventh grade classroom, your teen kids or the most famous Gen Z TikToker.
Good, has stabilized. What people are doing is pretending to grind porcelain dishes to a fine powder and snorting it as a social commentary on the internet’s challenging economy. Like most things online, the internet challenge is about attention. Internet stunts would actually be a better and more accurate name, as these challenges often fall on those performing grabby maneuvers, often dangerous to power and followers.
Back in the summer of 2021, some people significantly climbed on plastic milk crates while participating Milk carton challenge. (Challenge names are often very literal.) In 2016, there were Tube Ice Challenge, which involves squeezing yourself into a chair and trying to escape as low-budget Harry Houdini. The 2014 Ice Bucket Challenge, a fundraiser for ALS research, was perhaps the most memorable of the bunch. Also worth noting, the stunt – filming pouring a bucket of cold water on him and asking his friends to do the same and raise money in parallel – actually had tangible results and raise millions of dollars.
But back to the smoky mash. Sebastian Durfee, an internet comedian and TikTok creator with more than 150,000 followers, invented the so-called Porcelain Challenge to make fun of how challenges go viral on social media and spread. fear in the hearts of people who should know better than trusting the internet blindly. Eventually, the fictitious challenge came up that got his account, @childprogeny, removed from TikTok but not before his hashtag #Por AmbassadorChallenge received millions of views.
Mr Durfee, in a phone interview with The Times, said he wanted the challenge to be “intentionally absurd, meant to be intimidating to some degree, but easily dismissed with any opinion. Just a small objection.”
“It’s also a kind of social experiment to see how fake news can spread, even if, or perhaps especially if, it doesn’t pretend to be real,” said 23-year-old Durfee. He insists that he does not intend to mislead anyone with the videos. “In the first video, if I can recall correctly, it started with ‘Do you guys want to create a mock challenge and scare the rebels?'”
He no longer has access to this account and is not contacted by TikTok. Instead, Mr. Durfee is now posting videos on the platform using an alternate account, where he has a significantly smaller audience of just over 4,000 followers. His most recent TikTok video is a dramatic satirical disclaimer.
His inspiration came from the Food and Drug Administration. Last month, the FDA released a statement titled, “A Formula for Danger: Drug-Related Social Media Challenges.” In the release it warns about a dangerous trend supposedly circulating online: chicken NyQuil. The rumored recipe is basically boiling chicken in cold medicine. (Needless to say, but this is not an endorsement. Don’t cook chicken in cold medicine.)
Before the FDA got its attention, the NyQuil chicken was an internet joke aka sleepy chicken. TikTok recorded only five searches for it on the app a day before the FDA statement, BuzzFeed News reported. A week later, that number had skyrocketed to 7,000.
For every person who actually did break their faces Falling off a stack of milk cartons, there’s another challenge that’s almost entirely bogus. Or, at least, a challenge that starts that way. In 2018, the Tide Pod Challenge – people who eat laundry detergent pods – started to resemble chicken NyQuil, like an online game. (Some have suggested that the orange and blue swirls of the Tide shell resemble a candy cane.)
The attention on social media has inspired some people to actually eat the pods unfit for human food. During the first two weeks of January, when the challenge began to be recognized, The Times reported that poison control centers recorded 39 cases of teenagers ingesting Tide pods. That’s the same number reported for all of 2016 on American Association of Poison Control Centers.
However, it’s the attention economy for you. And speaking of attention, 23-year-old YouTuber Dream caught some of his attention this week when he finally revealed his face to a ton of followers. Dream is a Minecraft streamer and content creator with over 30 million subscribers on YouTube.
There’s a lot to know about Dream. He started streaming regularly in 2019. He has meet cheat to set a speed record – Minecraft players sometimes will compete compete against each other to see who can finish the game fastest – in 2020. (He still considers this an accident.) However, the most remarkable thing about Dream is that he never shows his face. Online. Instead, he always appears with the same headband-colored smiley mask, a smirk permanently plastered on his face.
All of this changed on October 2nd when Dream, after introducing the online event in previous days, revealed his face in a video on YouTube titled, “hello, I’m Dream.” It has been viewed more than 35 million times.
The reaction to the revelation was Mix. Although if you’ve spent a lot of time on the internet, you can predict how this will turn out. Some people mocked Dream’s face while others coveted it. Dream – who said in the video that his real name is Clay – has not tweeted or posted a new video on YouTube since his reveal.
Meanwhile, Bethenny Frankel, former star of Bravo’s “Real Housewives of New York” is back. diet cocktail businessman turn charity house, less attracted to some online attention. Ms. Frankel, who has also grown her followers on TikTok, is now suing the platform over a cardigan. More technically, she’s suing for allegedly using her “image and likeness” in advertisements for counterfeit garments. A video shows Ms. Frankel endorsing an expensive sweater that has been ripped up and reused by another company to make it look like she is enthusiastically recommending a much cheaper cardigan.
“I realize that TikTok has disseminated videos that use my proprietary content without my consent to sell goods to which I am not affiliated,” Ms. Frankel said in a statement issued by her attorney. provided to The Times. “I have found that this is a common problem affecting creators of all sizes across the space. That is unacceptable, and I want to be a voice for change and use my platform to create change in the industry.”
Moral of the story, whether it’s hosiery or porcelain: You really can’t believe everything you see online.
It Happened Online is a column in which we explain very specific pieces of news that are triggered and amplified by social media.
Madison Malone Kircher is a reporter for The Times. She writes about the Internet for the Styles desk. @ 4evrmalone