The Daily Star and Mirror unpublished online articles about the Momo meme after complaints to the UK press regulator the Independent Press Standards Organisation.
The articles claimed a three-year-old was a “victim” of the Momo meme, which was rumored to encourage children to self-harm.
A reader complained about the articles, saying they were inaccurate since the meme hadn’t been verifiably linked to any suicides.
Both news outlets stood by their articles, but the Mirror and Star both offered to publish a clarification and remove their stories. The Mirror and Star are both owned by Reach PLC. A spokesperson for Reach PLC pointed iMediaEthics to its February comments to the Guardian about it coverage of Momo. Mirror Online editor Ben Rankin argued the coverage was in response to “a huge number of our readers are very concerned” but noting its stories acknowledged the claims “may be overblown.”
“We agree with the National Online Safety Organisation’s stance on this, which is that parents deserve to be armed with the information they need to safeguard their children,” he is quoted as saying.
Both news outlets’ clarification reads:
“A previous version of this article suggested there had been confirmed suicides linked to the ‘Momo challenge’. We are happy to clarify that although there have been suspected links, there has been no confirmed linked suicide cases.”
Earlier this year, IPSO rejected a complaint against the UK Sun regarding its reporting on the Momo meme.