TikTok issues warning after 'dangerous' milk crate challenge goes viral

Doctors have also spoken out over the challenge, which has resulted in a number of injuries

A man falls down of a pyramid of milk crates while he participates of the Milk Crate Challenge in Venice, California.  AFP
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TikTok is putting a stop to the latest viral challenge to take hold on the video-sharing app, after a number of its users sustained injuries.

The Milk Crate Challenge, which first surfaced in early August, sees users stack milk crates on top of each other to climb, often resulting in a nasty fall.

A man falls from a collapsed pyramid of milk crates while he participates of the Milk Crate Challenge. AFP

In a statement, TikTok said it "prohibits content that promotes or glorifies dangerous acts, and we remove videos and redirect searches to our Community Guidelines to discourage such content."

"We encourage everyone to exercise caution in their behaviour whether online or off," TikTok said.

It comes after doctors and health officials across the US issued warnings over the challenge, which has been rapidly gaining popularity, as more users take it to the extreme.

“It’s perhaps even worse than falling from a ladder,” Shawn Anthony, an orthopaedic surgeon at Mount Sinai hospital in New York, told the Washington Post. “It’s very difficult to brace yourself from the falls I’ve seen in these videos. They’re putting their joints at an even higher risk for injury.”

Many hospitals in the US are already overwhelmed with patients owing to a surge in Covid-19 patients, sparking some hospitals to warn that any injuries endured as a result of the challenge would be deemed as “elective surgery”.

“With Covid-19 hospitalisations rising around the country, please check with your local hospital to see if they have a bed available for you, before attempting the #milkcratechallenge,” the Baltimore city health department said in a tweet.

While George Gantsoudes, an orthopedic surgeon in Virginia, tweeted: “The orthopaedic surgeries required to fix problems caused by this may fall under the umbrella of ‘elective surgeries’.”

The Food and Drug Administration also had its say on the challenge after television host Conan O’Brien joked he needed federal officials to grant permission for the challenge before attempting it, playing on the FDA’s approval of Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine earlier this week.

“Waiting for FDA approval before I take the Milk Crate Challenge,” O’Brien said in a tweet on Monday, prompting the FDA to respond with: “Although we regulate milk, we can’t recommend you try that. Perhaps enjoy a nice glass of 2 per cent and return all those crates to the grocery store?”

The Milk Crate Challenge is the latest in a string of dangerous challenges to do the rounds on TikTok. Over the past year, warnings have been issued over challenges including the Benadryl Challenge, which encouraged young people to intentionally consume large amounts of the antihistamine to induce hallucinations, and the Blackout Challenge, where young people were encouraged to hold their breath until they pass out.

Updated: August 26, 2021, 1:28 PM