Excerpt from this article:
This condition of faking illness online has a name: “Munchausen by internet,” or MBI. It’s a form of factitious disorder, the mental disorder formerly known as Munchausen syndrome, in which people feign illness or actually make themselves sick for sympathy and attention. According to Marc Feldman, the psychiatrist at the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa who coined the term MBI back in 2000, people with the condition are often motivated to lie by a need to control the reactions of others, particularly if they feel out of control in their own lives. He believes that the veil of the internet makes MBI much more common among Americans than the 1 percent in hospitals who are estimated to have factitious disorder.
Excerpt from this article, about which Paul Matheson asked me to share this comment – “These awareness games do not make anyone Do anything”:
“It’s confirmed! I’m going to be a daddy” reads a friend’s Facebook status update. So I click the ‘Like’ button and type “Congrats!” into the comments.
Seconds later, I get this message sent to my Inbox:
Lol , you should not have liked or commented. Now you have to pick from one of these below and post it as your status. This is THE 2015 BREAST CANCER AWARENESS game. Don’t be a spoil sport, pick your poison from one of these and change your status, 1) Diarrhea again?! 2) Just used my boobs to get out of a speeding ticket 3) How do you get rid of foot fungus 4) No toilet paper, goodbye socks. 5) I think I’m in love with someone, what should I do? 6) I’ve decided to stop wearing underwear 7) it’s confirmed, I’m going to be a Mommy/Daddy! 8)Just won £900 on a scratch card. 9) I’m getting married. Post with no explanations. So sorry, I fell for it too. Looking forward to your post. Shhh don’t ruin it!
…The more I think about this, the more offensive it is. My sister is recovering from breast cancer. My mother died from cancer. How is this manipulative status hijacking “game” about raising awareness for breast cancer?
…The ice bucket challenge was important in another way: it forced action and donations as integral parts of the awareness campaign, resulting in millions of dollars being raised for research into a cure for ALS.
By contrast, this thoughtless Facebook status hijacking game has not raised one cent; has not educated about early detection or treatment. It has done nothing, except get people’s backs up.
In this video on the New York Times (note: video contains some graphic imagery and profoundly sad themes), “A transgender woman, a sufferer of severe mental illness, and the parents of a child with cancer transform their experiences into intensely personal video games.”