By Derek Baker, February 1 2018 —
A new craze has taken social media by storm, with people around the world partaking in challenge-style videos featuring them crunching down on a fresh chunk of arsenic. This new fad is being attributed to attempts by several high-profile YouTubers to garner more views.
“The trend of chomping down on those delicious-looking Tide Pods is so last week. I needed to find something new to stand out,” YouTuber Brogan Hall said while chiseling his arsenic supply into bite-sized pieces. “Whatever it takes to go viral.”
The dangerous stunt resulted in the multi-millionaire vlogger’s video being demonetized. He subsequently uploaded another video in response to this.
“YouTube is clearly evil,” Hall stated in the video. “This platform is not allowing me to live a lavish lifestyle from filming myself doing stupid things. If that isn’t discrimination, I don’t know what is.”
Hall made sure to remind viewers to subscribe and push that notification bell at the end of his video. He also suggested that viewers give the video a ‘thumbs-up’ if they want to see him try new challenges, like the radioactive isotope challenge.
Despite the obvious dangers of partaking in these types of challenges, social-media trends researcher Tanya Tippers explained why such activities find audiences online, emphasizing the need for shock value to go viral.
“We live in a world of memes. Memes rule all,” Tippers explained. “But trust me — this is definitely the wrong mineral to crave.”
Imitators of the original video have caused the price of the commodity to skyrocket since the challenge began. Second-year Haskayne student Casey Quinn explained why he took part in the challenge.
“I saw Brogan Hall snack on a piece of arsenic, so I snacked on a piece of arsenic,” Quinn said. “I’m up to 300 followers now. I guess you could call me an ‘influencer.’ ”
Quinn went on to describe the numbness and mental detachment he now experiences as a pleasant escape from his stressful life.
Still, experts are warning about the potentially deadly consequences of eating arsenic. Health Canada has released a statement condemning the challenge.
“We can’t believe we have to write this, but we urge all Canadians to not eat arsenic. Please, just don’t do it,” the statement read.
This article is part of our Humour section.