In this age of abundant social media sharing and the viral internet, it's easy for untrue stories and rumors to spread like wild fire, bringing substantiation where there was none. And that seems to be the case with a Facebook game called 'Game of 72.'
The game involves participants daring others to completely vanish for 72 hours (or three days) without telling anyone where you are, and the more panic and mayhem you cause, the more points you get.
It originally surfaced in Europe but now it seems to be spreading over to North America and has been causing concern and worry among parents all across the globe. The questions is, does it even exist?
The concept seems to have its roots in the disappearance of a 13-year-old girl called Emma from her home in northern France at the end of April. She was eventually found three days later and she told the cops that she'd run away after someone dared her online when she was playing something called 'Game of 72'.
The game was then linked to the disappearance of two boys in Essex, UK but police later denied the incident had anything to do with it. That hasn't stopped police forces from across the world sending warnings about the 'Game of 72' though and telling parents to be alert for it.
However, according to the BBC, a prosecutor in France in the region where Emma disappeared says he believes she used it as an excuse. And it spiralled out of control from there.
"Actually we think that Emma joined up with someone when she ran away, and that was the main reason for her running away," he [the prosecutor] said via email.
"Everything points to the fact that the game (which may be imaginary) is the explanation that Emma gave as the reason why she ran away, and to protect the person she met. That person is currently being looked for by the police," he said. (via)
So, other than the teenager known as Emma, no one else has actually admitted to playing the game, and it seems the only mentions of it on social media are by news agencies reporting the story.
Welcome to 2015, where a teenger's excuse for running away from home for three days can turn into an international panic.