Philipp Budeikin (or Filipp Budeikin), the creator of the F57 death groups on VK, is now being cited as the originator of the Blue Whale Challenge game, a series of 50 grueling tests that eventually leads to suicide after the victim is left confused and vulnerable from emotional manipulation.
Police in Russia are investigating whether the Blue Whale Challenge game is responsible for the deaths of many teenagers and there are even unproven rumors that a Blue Whale app exists. Budeikin claimed in an interview that his motive in organizing the suicide groups, which led to the invention of the Blue Whale game, was to cleanse society, but others are claiming a more base motive: profit.
Back in 2013, at least one person allegedly had the idea to use suicide for profit by using a teen’s death as a marketing gimmick. The first Blue Whale suicide groups originated on the Russian social network VKontakte after a teenager named Rina Palenkova committed suicide. The Russian teenager supposedly killed herself shortly after posting a selfie on VK.com. This photo went viral, and there was great interest in her personal pages, videos, pictures, and even photos of her grave.
Several people had the idea to create the urban myth that a suicide cult sect surrounded the life of Palenkova. They generated codes using Hebrew inscriptions and even had a logo based upon a lingerie brand. They continued the cult of Palenkova on VK by publishing shock videos of other suicides. The death groups even promoted augmented reality games that were shocking in their own right.
According to Lenta.ru, More Kitov is the creator of the “Sea of Whales” VK community page, which was named after the idea that whales supposedly commit suicide by purposefully beaching themselves. The reason he created Sea of Whales is that VKontakte is similar to Facebook in that it’s possible to make money off of popular groups.
“I looked at all the fuss, got stunned by the hype and created my whales,” explained Kitov, although he also claimed he was trying to dissuade teens from acting on their suicidal thoughts.
The supposed intended goal was to generate money by increasing the number of group subscribers on VK.com so they could attract more advertisers. Multiple groups capitalized on the cult of Palenkova, and Kitov claims he was selling any real information he had on the dead Russian girl.
— Θέμα και θέαμα (@themakaitheama) May 11, 2017
One of the first suicide groups on VK was called F57, which Philipp Budeikin claims was based upon his own name, according to a report by Saint Petersburg.ru. As a VK administrator on F57, Budeikin went by the pseudonym Filip Lis, so the “F” in F57 came from his first name and the 57 was the last two digits of a personal number. The F57 group was eventually banned in 2014, but not before it spawned copycats that wished to mimic the scheme for using suicide for profit.
Kitov claims Budeikin just wanted to increase the number of subscribers to attract marketing companies.
But when Budeikin was directly asked if he really did push teenagers to commit suicide he replied, “Yes. I really did.”
The man claims they were “dying happy” because he communicated to them “warmth, understanding, connections” — elements of real life he insisted were missing. Infatuated with this young man, the teenage girls would eventually be lead to the brink of a tall building, where they’d jump without Budeikin being physically present.
It’s currently uncertain exactly how the Blue Whales Challenge Game originated. The F57 creator said he was “annoyed” by imitators and denies reports that he’s responsible for the deaths of 130 teenagers. Instead, Budeikin insists the number of teens who committed suicide was 17 and that they killed themselves without his “direct influence.” Why would Budeikin go to such great lengths? The man insists he’s just taking out the “biological waste.”
“There are people, but there is a biomass. These are those who do not represent any value to society and are or will only bring harm to society. I cleaned our society from such people… It was necessary to separate the normal from the biomass.”
There are unproven fears that the Blue Whale Challenge Game is spreading to Britain and also the United States. While the Russian suicide groups and the cult of Palenkova myth did exist, there’s no evidence that a Blue Whale app was ever published nor can the Blue Whale Challenge be directly linked to the hundreds of suicide in Russia.
Regardless, media reports have begun warning American parents about these potential suicide groups in a time when the topic of teenage suicide became controversial. Teenage suicide became a hot topic in recent months within the United States largely due to one piece of entertainment. The popular Netflix show 13 Reasons Why has been claimed by critics to essentially promote teen suicide. Prominent suicide specialists, including the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, have even called for 13 Reasons Why to be canceled. Some Americans on Twitter believe the show is “glorifying suicide for profit.”
— Renee Asher (@ReneeAsher) May 4, 2017
Parents’ fears have only been compounded by rumors about the Blue Whale Challenge game. According to CBS, school systems in Alabama are taking the threat so seriously that the Baldwin County Public School System issued a warning claiming that the Blue Whale app had been spotted at two high school campuses.
The new twist is that this Blue Whale app allegedly hacks into personal information on smartphones and then blackmails the teens into committing suicide. The real existence of the Blue Whale Challenge app has yet to be confirmed.
[Featured Image by Nick Ut/AP Images]