Facebook is investigating a game called the ’48 hour challenge’ where children apparently pretend to go missing.
The aim of the challenge is to earn points by getting your name mentioned in Facebook posts or receiving likes for messages you are featured in after disappearing.
Participants have 48 hours to get the highest score before they have to come forward and tell everyone they’re safe.
So far there have been no confirmed reports of someone taking part but Facebook said it was looking into the issue.
A spokesperson said: ‘The safety of young people on Facebook is a responsibility we take extremely seriously and we are awaiting the links to investigate these reports to ensure we are able to take swift action if it is needed.
‘We work closely with safety experts including the NPSCC, the UK Safer Internet Centre, Missing People, Childnet and many more to help young people have a positive experience on
‘Facebook, and collaborate closely with law enforcement agencies on issues regarding child safety.
‘We encourage people to use the reporting tools available on every page on Facebook if they see content that concerns them, so we can investigate and take action.’
Leah Weatherill, 12, went missing from Hull last week and when she showed up her grandmother, Lynn Weatherill, said she thought she may have taken part in the ’48 hour challenge’.
‘She is frightened now and I think she is starting to realise what she has done wrong,’ she said.
‘She didn’t know about this challenge. We told her about it and I do believe her but there are other girls in her school who are on Facebook.’
Another woman, from Northern Ireland, who wanted to remain anonymous, was certain her daughter had participated in the ‘sick’ challenge.
She told Belfast Live: ‘The anxiety it left our family in is unspeakable. … I was terrified they were dead or would be raped, trafficked or killed. But these kids just think it’s funny.
‘There was not even a moment of remorse when my child was taken into police custody and when the police brought my child home. I could see posts of selfies from the police car.’
The ’48 hour challenge’ has been linked to a game from 2015, called ‘Game of 72’, where children disappeared for 72 hours.
Although this challenge was later proved to be an urban legend.