The latest social media “challenge” is as popular on the internet as it is dangerous in the real world.
The “Milk Crate Challenge,” which entails stacking plastic milk crates into a pyramid shape before attempting — and typically failing — to climb over them, has taken Twitter, Instagram and TikTok by storm. Videos of people shakily taking steps up the flimsy crates and predictably falling are racking up millions of views across social media.
And enough people are getting hurt doing it that TikTok is banning the challenge.
While the hashtags #milkcratechallenge and #cratechallenge were wildly popular, TikTok has removed them, and you can no longer search for those hashtags — or even the terms “milk crate challenge” and “crate challenge” on the website. Attempting to do so will bring up the following message:
“TikTok prohibits content that promotes or glorifies dangerous acts, and we remove videos and redirect searches to our Community Guidelines to discourage such content,” a TikTok spokesperson told Newsweek. “We encourage everyone to exercise caution in their behavior whether online or off.”
The challenge is so dangerous that even the FDA tweeted out a humorous warning against it: “Although we regulate milk, we can’t recommend you try that. Perhaps enjoy a nice glass of 2% and return all those crates to the grocery store?”
The Milk Crate Challenge joins a long list of dangerous “challenges” to sweep social media in recent years. The Tide Pod Challenge was especially notorious, featuring people eating laundry detergent pods that looked like candy. People were also dumb enough to challenge themselves by setting themselves fire and throw boiling water on themselves.
Dr. Shawn Anthony, an orthopedic surgeon at New York’s Mount Sinai Hospital, doesn’t see the humor in it — especially as the COVID-19 pandemic stretches the health care system to its limits.
“Everyone needs to do their part in supporting first responders and health-care providers, and that involves not partaking in challenges like this one that are putting additional strain on the system,” Anthony told The Washington Post.
He also says it’s even more dangerous than falling from a ladder. “It’s very difficult to brace yourself from the falls I’ve seen in these videos,” Anthony said. “They’re putting their joints at an even higher risk for injury.”