The porcelain problem didn’t must be actual to get views
“I’ve dabbled up to now with making an attempt to make faux information that’s clear about being faux however spreads nonetheless,” Durfee mentioned. (He as soon as, with a stunning quantity of success, received a false rumor began that longtime YouTuber Hank Inexperienced had been arrested as a young person for making an attempt to steal a lemur from a zoo.)
On Sunday, Durfee and his mates watched as #PorcelainChallenge gained traction, they usually celebrated when it generated its first media headline (“TikTok’s porcelain problem just isn’t actual but it surely’s not one thing to joke about both”). A gradual parade of different headlines, some extra credulous than others, adopted.
However reflex-dependent viral content material has a brief life span. When Durfee and I chatted three days after he posted his first video concerning the porcelain problem, he already might inform that it wasn’t going to catch as extensively as he’d hoped. RIP.
However, viral moments may be reanimated with simply the slightest contact of consideration, changing into an undead pattern ambling via Fb information feeds and panicked mum or dad teams. Stripping away their unique context can solely make them extra highly effective. And doubtful claims about viral teen challenges are sometimes these kinds of zombies—generally giving them a second life that’s a lot larger (and arguably extra harmful) than the primary.
For each “cinnamon problem” (an actual early-2010s viral problem that made the YouTube rounds and put members in danger for some nasty well being problems), there are much more dumb concepts on the web that don’t pattern till somebody with a big viewers of fogeys freaks out about them.
Simply a few weeks in the past, as an illustration, the US Meals and Drug Administration issued a warning about boiling rooster in NyQuil, prompting a panic over a craze that might endanger Gen Z lives within the title of views. As a substitute, as Buzzfeed Information reported, the warning itself was essentially the most viral factor about NyQuil rooster, spiking curiosity in a “pattern” that was not trending.
And in 2018, there was the “condom problem,” which gained widespread media protection as the most recent life-threatening factor teenagers had been doing on-line for consideration—“uncovered” as a result of an area information station sat in on a presentation at a Texas college on the hazards teenagers face. In actuality, the condom problem had a number of minor blips of curiosity on-line in 2007 and 2013, however movies of individuals truly making an attempt to snort a condom up their nostril had been sparse. In every case, the concern of teenagers flocking en masse to participate in a harmful problem did extra to amplify it to a a lot bigger viewers than the problem was in a position to do by itself.
The porcelain problem has all the weather of future zombie content material. Its catchy title stands out like a chew on the arm. The posts and movies seeded throughout social media by Durfee’s followers—and the secondary viewers coming throughout the work of these Durfee deputized—are believable and context-free.