The Milk Crate Challenge: Why people are falling off of social media

Every now and then, the internet opens a door to a strange new trend. Take, for example, the Milk Crate Challenge. On TikTok, Instagram, and Twitter, you’ll see videos of people building milk crates, attempting to climb them like a staircase, and falling down dangerously — because, believe it or not, milk crates don’t make for sound structures.

Videos with the hashtag #milkcratechallenge had racked up more than 10 million views, while #cratechallenge had racked up more than 82 million views when TikTok started removing the films. The Milk Crate Challenge has been going on for a while now.

What is the Milk Crate Challenge?

The Milk Crate Challenge entails building steps out of milk crates stacked in a pyramid. As the stacks get more hazardous, people attempt to climb up one side and down the other. They collapse to the ground, generally on top of the toppled crates, when they make a mistake or the physics of the situation fails them.

Is anyone getting hurt?

It’s difficult to tell if anyone has been gravely hurt thus far. According to doctors, falls can cause “broken wrists, shoulder dislocations, ACL and meniscus tears, as well as life-threatening disorders like spinal cord injuries,” according to Today.

According to WSB-TV in Atlanta, a metro Atlanta health worker has witnessed two injuries as a result of the challenge.

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People landing on their backs, sides, and stomachs, as well as right on the harsh plastic corners of the crates, can be seen in the footage. In one video, a man stands at the very top of the pyramid and wobbles for several seconds before attempting another step and plummeting to the earth.

Then there’s this talented (or simply lucky) woman who was able to climb a stack while wearing heels.

Given the seriousness of the coronavirus epidemic, Baltimore’s Health Department posted a reminder that if you get wounded while participating in this trend, there may not be a hospital bed available for you.

In that vein, George Takei of Star Trek tweeted that it appears some people are more likely to engage in the challenge than to receive a COVID shot.

How did the challenge start and what are people saying about it?

It’s unclear when the fad began, but it appears to have gained traction during the weekend. It even made Jimmy Kimmel Live on Monday night when guest host Stephen A. Smith aired some video and remarked about how ridiculous the fad is.

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“We’re all scared about COVID,” he said, “but TikTok is what’s going to kill us.”

Hulk would not participate in the Milk Crate Challenge, according to Mark Ruffalo, because he despises stairs.

Conan O’Brien also joked on Twitter about the fad needing FDA approval, prompting the FDA to respond with a tweet forbidding the action.

How does TikTok feel about this?

When you search TikTok for “milk crate challenge,” you’ll get a notification that says, “This phrase may be associated with behavior or content that violates our guidelines.”

According to an email from a platform spokeswoman, “To prevent such content, TikTok forbids anything that promotes or glorifies dangerous activities, and we remove videos and lead searchers to our community guidelines. We encourage everyone, whether online or offline, to be cautious in their actions.”