Saturday, Aug 23, 2014 05:28 am est

Facebook drinking game necessitates individual responsibility

Posted on February 19, 2014 | by WSN Editorial Board

A notorious drinking game known as Neknominate has swept social media platforms and revitalized discussions about the balance between corporate and individual responsibility. The Neknominate game involves consuming a large quantity of alcohol while being filmed. Once a challenge is completed, the participant must nominate another person to surpass the previous record of consumption. Videos of the Neknominate challenge are posted to social networking websites, including Facebook and YouTube. At present time, sources estimate that at least five men under the age of 30 have died as a result of the dangerous drinking challenge.

In the aftermath of these fatalities, Facebook has been scrutinized for its role in providing a platform for Neknominate. This case is not the first instance where the social media giant has been pressed for greater corporate responsibility. In November 2013, Facebook announced it would amplify its efforts to prevent cyberbullying and harassment on the website by releasing guides and talking points for teens. These measures do not suggest that Facebook has become a policed site, nor should it.

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube are open forums. They allow their users autonomy. On these sites, individual user responsibility renders additional corporate intervention unnecessary for the most part. Neknominations themselves do not violate the social media sites’ community standards. Facebook’s community policies deem harmful content to be posts that promote world violence, property destruction, vandalism or inflict emotional distress. The Neknominations do not amount to a breach of Facebook’s own policies and, as such, it is the user’s own responsibility to police the content he or she posts.

One of the most unfortunate aspects of the Neknominate situation is that people posting such outlandish videos is not new. The members of today’s generation are obsessed with sharing every aspect of their lives — the good, the bad and the ugly. While sites like Facebook and Twitter are meant for sharing aspects of a user’s life, young adults abuse this privilege by overposting. This abuse has distorted social media, making it less about connection and more about self-promotion, allowing platforms like Facebook to act as the perfect pedestal for games like Neknominate.

Facebook’s status as a public platform suggests that the frequency of these videos will fall along with a falling public opinion. Once the public recognizes the dangerous nature of Neknominations, there will not be any incentive to perpetuate the phenomenon. The responsibility in this situation lies on the shoulders of those producing these videos, not with the corporations that provide their public platform.

A version of this article appeared in the Wednesday, Feb. 19 print edition. Email the WSN Editorial Board at  


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Felipe De La Hoz

Multimedia Editor | Felipe De La Hoz is a Colombian national studying journalism at the College of Arts and Sciences. Having been born in Colombia and raised in the United States, Mexico and Brazil, Felipe is a trilingual travel aficionado and enjoys working in varied and difficult environments. Apart from his photography, Felipe enjoys investigative reporting and interviews, interviewing the likes of Colombian ex-M-19 guerrilla fighters and controversial politician Jimmy McMillan. He has covered everything from governmental conferences to full-blown riots, as well as portraiture shoots and dining photography. Having worked under Brazilian photojournalists for Reuters and AFP, Felipe hopes to one day work on demanding journalistic projects and contribute to the global news cycle.

Ann Schmidt

News Editor | Ann is a liberal studies sophomore who lived in Florence during her freshman year. She plans on double-majoring in journalism and political science and is always busy. She is constantly making lists and she loves to laugh.


Daniel Yeom

Daniel started at the Features desk of WSN last Spring, writing restaurant reviews whilst indulging on free food and consequently getting fat. Last Fall, he was the dining editor, and he this semester he is senior editor. Daniel is in Gallatin (living the dream) studying Food & Travel Narratives, incorporating aspects of Food Studies, Journalism, and Media, Culture, and Communication. He loves food more than life itself.

Hannah Luu

Deputy Multimedia Editor | Hannah Luu is a ridiculously great Deputy Multimedia Editor. She is a sophomore from Northern California. If you think Northern California means San Francisco you might need to closely examine a map. She is passionate about NPR and being half Asian.

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