"48-Hour(s) Missing Challenge": Potentially Dangerous Social Media Challenge

Updated: Mar 11, 2019

According to media reports, the “48-Hour(s) Missing Challenge” is an emerging online social media challenge that encourages young people to go missing and remain hidden for 48-hours to increase their “likes” and “shares” on Facebook photos. Currently there are no proven examples of teenagers participating in this challenge, leaving some speculation that it is a hoax.

  • In late January, a 13-year-old in Rock Hill, South Carolina, went “missing” resulting in an intensive first responder effort, including detectives and search teams. The teenager was found 24-hours later hiding under her bed. She denied participating in the online challenge.

Instructions on sharing location information (Source: Apple Inc.)

  • No cases of this challenge have been confirmed in the United States. However, the attention this online challenge is receiving could ultimately result in the hoax becoming credible. First responders are warning the public of the consequences and dangers of this online challenge, including negatively impacting first responder resources for real emergencies.

  • Authorities encourage parents to speak to their children regarding these trending online challenges and be knowledgeable of their activity on social media platforms. Location finder applications on smartphones can assist law enforcement in the event a child goes missing.

Additional Resources:

To report immediate threats or emergencies call 911. For questions about this product please email the Maryland Center for School Safety at safe.schoolsmd@maryland.gov

or the NTIC at ntic@dc.gov.

Download PDF

The NTIC is governed by a privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties protection policy to promote conduct that complies with applicable federal, state, and local laws. The NTIC does not seek or retain any information about individuals or organizations solely on the basis of their religious, political or social views or activities; their participation in a particular noncriminal organization or lawful event; or their race, ethnicities, citizenships, places of origin, ages, disabilities, genders, or sexual orientations. No information is gathered or collected by the NTIC in violation of federal or state laws or regulations.