London - Facebook is profiting from the controversial drinking game NekNominate by displaying adverts next to videos of people taking part in challenges.
The social networking site is now facing growing pressure to ban footage after the craze claimed the lives of two British men this weekend.
On Monday, a Facebook page called Ban NekNomination started by friends of the latest victim had 24 000 ‘likes’ and relatives condemned the game as “stupid and dangerous”.
Campaigners also called for the site and others to review their policies on allowing the videos to remain online.
Andrew Misell of Alcohol Concern said: “Facebook have declined to take these pages down. I would ask them to look at reviewing their policy.
“I would also urge people who are using these social networking sites and who see these particular pages, to report them to the site and complain.”
His warning came after the deaths of two British men this weekend after apparently taking part in the game – in which participants film themselves drinking dangerous and bizarre alcoholic cocktails and urge others to outdo them.
Two other young men died in Ireland last week. The first British victim was former grammar school boy Isaac Richardson, 20, who downed wine, whisky, vodka and lager in a pitcher and lost consciousness two minutes later. He died in hospital in the early hours of Sunday. Friends said he had told them he wanted to “outdo” everyone else.
On Monday it emerged that Stephen Brookes, 29, from Cardiff, also died on Sunday morning after being NekNominated and downing a pint of vodka.
Friends said he liked to challenge people to drinking contests and his catchphrase was: “Do you wanna race?”
They have now started a Facebook group called Ban NekNominate and called on the social networking site to check related videos before they are uploaded.
A family spokesman said: “We want to tell other people to think what they are doing before taking part in something stupid like this. We don’t want to see any more victims of this drinking craze or for any other families to suffer.”
Mr Brookes’ mother Paula, 49, said: “Stephen was a fabulous son – he was kind, generous and funny, everybody loved him. The community here will not be the same without him – he would do anything to help anybody.”
The craze has taken hold on Facebook primarily, but is also on sites including Twitter and YouTube.
Although Facebook has removed advertising on NekNominate groups and does not show targeted advertising linked to the craze, it is still running adverts alongside the videos.
This means that it is either paid by a company up front to run the adverts, or it receives money when a Facebook user clicks on the link.
A spokesman said behaviour on the site that some people may find offensive or controversial is “not always necessarily against our rules”.
He added: “We encourage people to report things to us which they feel breaks our rules so we can review and take action on a case-by-case basis.
“We also give people the ability to remove themselves from an uncomfortable conversation through tools such as untagging and blocking.” - Daily Mail