back to article Facebook planking game claims its first victim

A social media game that uses Facebook as its vector is being blamed for the death of a 20-year-old Queenslander over the weekend. The silly, but mostly harmless, game of "planking" involves a person lying straight, arms by side face down, sans facial expression. Plankers are encouraged to pose creative or daring locations …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    May I be the first... nominate this planker for a Darwin award?

  2. Visitant

    Darwin is proved right....again

    I don't think it's fair to say that police are overreacting to this craze. Unfortunately some people have to be protected from their own stupidity (and presumably excess alcohol consumption).

  3. Anonymous Coward

    And the Darwin award goes to....

    Planking is not the problem, being stupid and falling off to your death from a balcony is.

  4. Jack Prichard


    I wonder who will be collecting the Darwin Award on his behalf?

  5. DownUndaRob
    Paris Hilton


    Thats no over-reaction, thats just Queensland Police being Queensland Police (aka Fun Police)

  6. Head
    Thumb Up


    Pwned by Darwin

  7. LaeMing

    Blame game

    "...number of news and TV presenters mimicking the act on prime television."

    Yet it is still the internet's fault, of course.

    Stupid is stupid. Long before the 'net, 'tv , the printing press, or Thogg painting on the cave wall.

  8. cphi

    was he ever going to be a nationality other than Australian?

    despite encroaching state nannying - we still manage to find imaginative ways to kill ourselves. makes you quite proud.

    1. scarshapedstar
      Paris Hilton

      Let's be real here

      He could have been Floridian.

    2. Stone Fox
      Dead Vulture

      Erm, yes actually.

      I'm a little surprised that neither the author nor the commentards seem to be aware that this 'craze' swept the UK (the yanks as well I think) about 2 years ago under the name of "The lying down game"

      It even featured as headline on Sky news at one point.

      So yes, it could quite easily have been some pissed up chav from Stanwell or something. I've seen pics of ground crew "planking" in the intakes for 747 turbines at Heathrow etc...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        It took an Aussie to try lie down on air.

        Hand picked by the finest legal minds in England they are!

  9. FozzyBear

    Planker = Plonker

    Not much else to say other than Darwin must be extremely happy with his latest idea to clean up the gene pool

    1. Code Monkey

      One less idiot

      To quote (possibly misquote) Bill Hicks "We lost an idiot. The world just got lighter."

      1. The Fuzzy Wotnot

        Hicks the genius!

        "So what? That's one less gas-station attendent!"

  10. Richard IV

    Why is it?

    That "Person dies doing something stupid" stories get publicity when the something stupid is either spectacularly stupid like trying to pick your nose with a power drill, or something moderately foolish linked to things those in charge are against for one reason or another. With the latter, it's almost as though the media are specifically on the lookout for what is an inevitability given the large sample size for such things.

    I guess I answered my own question there...

    Celebrate. There's one less moron in the world.

  11. Jolyon Smith

    It's the Darwin Awards - LIVE!

    These things shouldn't be BANNED... they improve the overall quality of the gene pool!

    1. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: It's the Darwin Awards - LIVE!

      I'm looking forward to many more comments of this nature on this story!

  12. Spasticus

    Darwin Award

    What a plank

    1. LaeMing

      As we say here in Aus:

      Thick as two short planks.

  13. geejayoh

    The police...

    what a bunch of plankers.

  14. fansid

    A dangerous game

    This game is bad news.

    Didn't some NHS staff get suspended over playing 'the lying down game' at work a few years back?

  15. Anonymous Coward


    A Facebook user, doing something extremely dangerous and reckless in the propagation of a meme, falls to his death. I submit that the potential of his life has in no way gone unfulfilled.

  16. jake Silver badge

    Plankers? Plonkers, more like ...

    But, as I always say, idiots abound in today's society that over-protects the incautious from themselves. It's evolution in action. Let the idiots die before they can reproduce. The world will be a better place over the long-haul.

  17. Rob Moss.

    cue Beastie Boys

    "While the Facebook “planking” community expressed some concern over the death, many defended the right to plank."

    .. you gotta fight.. for your right.. to plaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaank

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Make you think that Derek & Clive's prediction about "celebrity suicide" would be the next show on reality TV.

    (profanity warning)

  19. Daedalus Silver badge

    The perfect idiot trap

    Please more planking in dangerous places. We need fewer idiots. Get 'em before they sprog!

  20. Big Al

    Linguistic revisionism

    Clearly we need to start referring to plankers instead of plonkers...

  21. Jelliphiish


    Darwin Awards candidate if count equals none.

  22. Matt Bryant Silver badge

    Natural selection at work.

    I'm sure someone will have nominated this unfortunate for a Darwin Award. I now understand why all the entreprising Aussies are working in bars in London if the height of social activity in Aus is planking.

  23. Mike Peachey


    What a bunch of plonkers!

  24. Adrian Challinor

    Darwin meets Facebook?

    That is all.

  25. Neoc

    What the...?

    "While the Facebook “planking” community expressed some concern over the death, many defended the right to plank."

    Er, no... if while doing planking (or any other activity) - which is in-and-of-itself not illegal - you do something illegal in order to achieve it, then there is no "right" for you to turn to. The illegality (and/or stupidity) of the acts you are doing in order to get your shot supersede any so-called rights you thought you had...

    It is illegal to interfere with a police vehicle - this includes climbing, sitting or leaning on it. The fact that the idiot only wanted to plank does *not*, somehow, make it legal or confer on the idiot some sort of "right".

    Or to put it another way, the legality of your action only extends to your first illegal act in committing that action.

  26. Steven Roper

    Where the fuck did this come from?

    I'm trying to understand what it is about this activity that excites people. In my experience, lying face-down on the pavement is something you do after you've had too many tequila slammers and been kicked down stairs by the bouncers. That's not something you'd want recorded for posterity, much less publication on the Internet. I believe in live and let live (die?), so people should be free to do it if they wish, but I'll never be able to get my head into this space myself.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      About as random...

      as the "head in the freezer" craze that started, IIRC, in South Korea. Kids making and posting silly pics... at least they're not smoking crack

      : /

      1. Homard

        Guess you've never got your head really cold then ?

        I can reliably inform you it can make you high as a kite ! However it has happened it isn't good.

        Flame not for you, but vital warmth :-) !

  27. Winkypop Silver badge

    Oh you mean "Plankers"

    I thought you said they were "Plonkers"

    My bad.

  28. Rattus Rattus

    Thank you, Acton Beale

    for single-handedly improving the human race's gene pool by removing yourself from it.

  29. Ivan Slavkov

    Darwin award winner

    Well, one has removed himself from the gene pool. 90000 more to walk the plank

  30. AGirlFromVenus

    Darwin beckons if 20 yrs. old

    That looks like a sensible entrance age to get a entry in Darwin awards then. First one to plank on the hi speed main line down by me and get cut in half would be a more likely winner tho.

  31. Elmer Phud


    'Plank' is also used as a term for an idiot.

    Can't wait for the association with Facebook to become the cause of it - 'Facebook encourages dangerous stunts'. Yeah, like hell it does, it's the twats who egg each other on.

    Where's the 'Darwin' icon?

  32. YouStupidBoy
    Big Brother

    What is the world coming to?

    When lying on improbable objects and having your picture taken is something to risk your life over? Seriously, I want/need someone to explain the attraction to outsiders (and oneself) of expending effort in order to obtain a picture of a person lying down on something.

    Guy should be nominated for a Darwin.

    Having said that, did anyone else see the Chief Constables speech as reported by the BBC and feel a mite uneasy?

    [quote] Sergeant Matthew Russell, of Gladstone police, told the Brisbane Courier-Mail newspaper that planking could be dangerous, and practitioners may find themselves charged with "unauthorised high risk activity" [/quote]

    So now 'high risk activity' has to be authorized? By whom? Using what criteria? Where does one apply for such authorization? Who determines what constitutes high risk activity in the first place?

    I can only therefore assume that since people die in the waters off the coast of Australia every year while taking part in such activities as diving, surfing, swimming and sailing that law enforcement will put an immediate stop to them until the proper paperwork has been filed and approved in triplicate (and no doubt fees delivered to the appropriate officers desk). Only half kidding there.

    And one guy, probably not altogether sober, does something stupid and it's held up as an object lesson to how everyone else in the general population is obviously incapable of taking care of themselves without Nanny making every decision for you.

    I don't usually get worked up over this, but I've had enough. I want the freedom to live the life I choose without being told/instructed that it's wrong, simply because some aspects do not conform to societal normalcy in my geographical area. It's not about 'planking', as I kinda already said, I think it's a craze for pillocks with no sense of self-identity and self-worth and as such can't bear not to be part of the latest group fascination that comes along. As long as my (or anyone elses) activities (or lack of) do not affect someone else in a negative fashion then I firmly and unequivocally believe that the government can stay the fuck out of my private life.

    Need a damn Stalin icon.

  33. Gulfie

    Get. A. Life.

    Please! And El Reg, you're only encouraging them with this Daily Mail style reporting...

  34. This post has been deleted by its author

  35. Sir Runcible Spoon


    Sod planking, 'eyeballing' is where it's at. You take one Darwinian challenged individual, a knife and ping pong ball. Stick the ball to the back of the head and try to remove it with the knife having first passed the knife through one of the eyes (left or right - doesn't matter).

    Great stuff, very amusing, and also serves a purpose - what more could you want?

  36. TeeCee Gold badge

    May I be the first to say:

    What a plank!

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      May I be the first to say?


  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "The silly, but mostly harmless, game of "planking" involves a person lying straight, arms by side face down, sans facial expression."

    Seriously? This is a game? Sometimes I worry for the future of our species.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Extreme sports for the obesity generation.

      Seriously, we've been hearing for some years now how all the kids are horribly fat from eating too many chips. That's why the last generation invented Parkour and Base Jumping, and this generation has invented Planking.

      Did you think they were going to invent some kind of game that involved running around?

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Toooo Obvious

    Facebook, full of plankers taking pictures of themselves planking...

    Paris, inspiring a generation of plankers

  39. Toolman83

    is it April 1st again already?

    This has got to be a joke doesn't it? if not - well, another contender for the Darwin awards I guess.

  40. Nigel Brown

    Ahh, dear old Facebook

    the natural home of those planks who fall short of length requirements.

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Drunk man falls off balcony

    What a plank.

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Darwin award

    Well deserved, we'll carve the medal on your tombstone.

    Actually, I've got an idea: I'm going to create a Facebook wanking game, that would be awesome. Or stupid. Or both, as the line is quite blurry these days.

    Now the chicken and egg question: does Facebook make you stupid, or does it attract already stupid people?

    "Hey, I'm incredibly social, I took a picture of myself lying on the belly on a bench, and shared it with 89K people online!". Yup, it probably makes you a Turner Prize nominee as well.

  43. Anonymous Coward


    Suitable for planks...

    Balacing on the edge of a 7 story drop...

    Twat.....Hopefully Darwin will expunge a few more "waste-of-oxygen" lifeforms wirth this amusing life ending game... TV rights anyone..

    Infact, theres a new idea for Mr Blaine...Go plank on the moon!!!!

  44. jameslloyd2340


    Rodney, you planker!

  45. Routerbod

    Planking problem?

    Natural. Selection.

  46. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Big Brother

    You need a "right to plank"?

    Sod that. Plank ahead.

  47. ben 29


    WTF? When I was a lad it was called "Extreme Lying Down", mind you planking lends itself to ease of use doesn't it? "he's a real planker. I was arrested for planking on a police car. I'm going to the park for a quick plank" that sort of thing...

    /mine's the one with double entendres for beginners in the pocket

  48. Uncle Slacky Silver badge

    To paraphrase Bill Hicks...

    ;;;one less gas station attendant in the world.

  49. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "Police fear that as 'stupidity' gains popularity there may be more injuries and, potentially, further deaths," he said.

  50. Anonymous Coward

    Planks Constant

    6.626068 × 10^-34

    Yes, the calculations work out!

    1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

      Avocado's constant?

      What am I going to do with 6 x 10^23 avocadoes?

      Mine's the one with guacamole in the pockets.

    2. Homard

      Plancks constant

      Is the average number of braincells these twats have ?

      I'll get me coat, but anyone who gets me maybe needs to get theirs too !

  51. luxor

    Anyone mentiond Darwin yet?

    Oh they have. No point in me posting it then.

    What a plank.

  52. jubtastic1

    We were all young once

    Seems like a lot of blokes in these comments making the same bad joke who seem to have forgotten the many, many, retrospectively retarded exploits of their youth that could just have easily ended in similar, if less widely mocked tragedy.

    1. Jedit

      I must have forgotten

      Because I don't recall ever doing anything monumentally stupid and dangerous when I was 20 (unless you count asking out my best female friend, which even in the worst case was unlikely to be fatal).

      It doesn't take a fool to spot a fool.

      1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

        It must be great being you...

        ...not having the memory of ever having done anything stupid in your life.

        Personally, I'm sure I've done lots of things that were stupid and / or dangerous whilst young / drunk, most often probably without even realising it at the time. The difference between me and this particular individual probably comes down to something as simple as I was lucky and he was not. Just because I have no explicit recollection of these things doesn't make me perfect or infallible.

        It might not take a fool to spot a fool, but it also doesn't take a callous hubristic fool to spot another.

        1. Jedit

          No, just to think they have spotted another

          I never said I've never done anything stupid. I just said I've never done anything so stupid and dangerous that anyone with two functioning brain cells could tell it was a bad idea.

  53. Dinky Carter

    What a bunch of comedians!

    A young man dies doing something stupid while drunk.

    Dozens of utter f^ckw1ts post sick, gloating remarks on El Reg in totally pathetic attempts at wit.

    A truly sad story all round then.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: gloating

      Is it good or bad that the moderators let these gloating remarks through? Do I need to be constantly reminded that there is a large section of the public whose natural reaction to a child being run over, for example, is to laugh, gloat and blame the victim for being "stupid", and that a lot of these people read The Register?

      Incidentally, it may be the case that intelligent people are more likely to be killed in some classes of accident. When young, they are more likely to circumvent safety measures and do something unexpected and original. When older, they are more likely to suffer from repetition fatigue. I've been present at some near misses involving people of Oxbridge-level intelligence, with and without alcohol.

      I'm not sure how gloating correlates with intelligence. Perhaps the more intelligent gloaters are aware enough at least to understand how socially acceptable their behaviour is and to limit themselves to doing it anonymously.

      1. Steven Roper
        Thumb Up

        Re: re: gloating

        "Is it good or bad that the moderators let these gloating remarks through?"

        If they didn't, there'd be about three comments in this thread!

      2. Keith 21

        There, fixed that for you.

        "Is it good or bad that the moderators let these remarks I disagree with through? " - AC

  54. adnim

    The blame game

    "A social media game that uses Facebook as its vector is being blamed for the death of a 20-year-old Queenslander over the weekend."

    Of course it's the fault of the game, never let it be said that a person is responsible for their own actions.

    @AC:Planks constant,

    That would be Planck's constant, sorry to be a pedant, but such a brilliant intellect needs to have his name spelled correctly.

  55. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Those silly police...

    "Even before the weekend death, police were starting to overreact to the craze."

    I mean, fucking police overreacting, it's not like anyone could die or something.

    1. Oninoshiko

      Yes! Lets ban everything that can kill you!

      There goes every modern amenity society has to offer...

  56. Anonymous John

    Correct me if I'm wrong.

    But didn't piss-heads sometimes remove themselves from the gene-pool before the Internet was invented?

    1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

      I believe so.

      Sometimes, even by falling off of high things.

      I contend that this particular individual died because he was drunk and foolish, the fact that he was 'planking' whilst drunk and foolish may have contributed to it, but was not the only cause. Accidents tend to happen when people are drunk, as it affects things like judgement and balance, both of which are vitally important to not falling off the aforementioned high things.

      The separate case of the guy being arrested because of 'planking' on a police car; as mentioned by another poster above, the police are quite likely to arrest you if you site/lie/jump/plank on top of a police car, what with there being a law against it.

      As to where Facebook comes in all this? The easy answer: it doesn't. The supposed link between the 'craze' on FB, and an unfortunate drunken 20 year old losing his life is so tenuous as to be non-existent.

  57. J. R. Hartley

    I don't get it

    A 20 year old is dead. What is so funny about that?? I can't believe some of the comments here.

  58. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This whole title thing is someties tedious

    Sound safer than what we used to do with the original Yard Darts when I was a kid (with no adult supervision, of course).

  59. Bilgepipe


    Did he maintain the planking pose all the way down, do you think?

  60. Anonymous John

    IMF chief was 'just planking' on chambermaid

  61. Atonnis


    Are people seriously all getting enthused about lying down in an uncomfortable way?

    Seriously, people - lying down for 8 hours in a nice, comfortable pose is wayyy more satisfying. Trust me.

  62. Patrick R

    Sit on my space

    Planker gets confused between Facebook and Faceplant. So much for Darwin... Newton award as well ?

  63. Sarah Davis

    In the UK we have an expression,...

    What a plank !!

    this story is a prime example of a 'plank' and the sort of things 'planks' do.

    The irony that there are 'plank' groups on farcebook is not unsimilar to the irony of 'chavs'. The word 'chav' comes from 'chavvy', a slang word used by travellers (fairgrund and circus folk) meaning idiot or moron, the irony being that idiots and morons unwitingly adopted the word as a lifestyle label

  64. How dare you!

    these kids...

    Should stick to herion. Much safer.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Would that

      be herion pwime, where Widdick comes from?

  65. Ru


    Given two groups sharing an environment, the one more suited to the conditions will prosper.

    Observation 1: Idiots kill themselves all the time

    Observation 2: The number of idiots does not seem to be decreasing

    Conclusion: The number of idiots is growing faster than they can kill themselves, and the population of non-idiots is failing to outcompete them for any resource that affects population growth.

    By posting tedious repetetive comments about how happy Darwin must be about this event, or hilaaaarious jokes about cleaning the gene pool, you more or less put yourself in the 'non stupid' group, the one which is failing to thrive.

    You may smugly congratulate yourself on joining the losing team, and await your own Darwin award for utterly failing to prevent your own collective extinction and failing to have a good time whilst doing so,

  66. Anonymous Coward


    I am ashamed to call myself a Human Being considering I am the same as all you lot on here.

    A kid has died because he was doing something that yes was stupid but still, atleast he was trying to do something when he died and all you lot can do is call them stupid and be thankful he is dead.

    You are a disgrace the lot of you.

    People die in stupid ways, take walking on railway track's or running across a road but people also die just walking down the street.

    I feel sorry for this lad's family and just hope they don't see this site, and read the comment's left by a bunch of stupid disrespectfull people.

    I didn't think the comment's would be like what they are but I guess I was thinking that people would be respectful, guess I was a idiot and based on all your comment's I should be dead because of it.

    Get a life, and grow up and be respectfull.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      It's called "graveyard humour".

      In case you haven't noticed, short pain-filled lives followed by violent unpleasant deaths has been the lot of the greater part of humanity since the beginning of recorded time, and a good deal before then too. It's the human condition, and morbid humour is one of our time-tested coping mechanisms. It's not actually as vindictive as it may come across.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @ Ashamed AC

      I think you need to take a bit of a reality pill there, and think about why you feel that your grief jockey platitudes are in some way less shameful that others' poor humour and disdain.

      You need to accept that there are two issues here, one is that a human being has died - which is itself generally a bad thing, with all the inherent baggage that comes with lost life.

      However the other aspect is that a supposedly intelligent being has managed to kill themselves by stupidly carrying out a truly absurdly idiotic action as part of a completely pointless escapade. This is worthy of note and ridicule.

      Look at this way, if the bloke had simply broken a few bones we would all be merrily chortling away and only the most puritan of grief-jockeys would be admonishing anyone for doing so. The only difference here is the seriousness (I was going to say "gravity" - but you would probably get all mardy about that) of the result.

      Yes it is very much a shame that someone has been killed, but the manner and circumstances are in isolation, funny.

  67. N000dles


    Correct me if I am wrong but this whole craze seems quite pointless. I would have thought you would find it more amusing farting in elevators.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up


      Farting in lifts is more amusing. Unfortunately, given that I only spend a few minutes of each day in lifts with the opportunity for such humour, it is also useful to have other funny activities in your repertoire. Not that I'm into planking.

      1. Anonymous Coward


        could I suggest a slight change of practice for maximum effect ?

        Try farting in a stairwell. With all those firedoors the stench will linger for days !

        Just make sure it's a smelly one for maximum effect.

        Obvious smiley

  68. HP Cynic

    For Shame

    I've just finished reading the first page of comments and there's not a single entry expressing sympathy for the young man who lost his life in this tragic accident, or for the family he leaves behind.

    Keep it up.

    His family will almost certainly blame Facebook / Plankers rather than accepting that their son was a plank long before he was encouraged by a bunch of other plankers.

  69. The Fuzzy Wotnot


    Rising to heaven , broken hearted,

    Played Plank, now I'm dearly departed!

  70. Anonymous Coward


    You gotta love Mother Nature.

    The more our society mollycoddles and protects the stupid the more ways good ol' Mom finds to take them out.

    My advice would be to let them do it, the Human Race will be all the stronger for their departure.

  71. Sir Cosmo Bonsor

    Maybe it was an embedded device?

    They don't have a filesystem, you know.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      That's perfectly normal.

      Why are we doing tdwtf memes here?

  72. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    One down many to go

    At least we won't need to deal with the dead ones, only the braindead that live.

  73. vincent himpe


    in the late sixties we flew to the moon

    in the eighties we had the computer revolution

    in the nineites the internet revolution

    today we are only capable of posting pictures of somebody laying around...

    give it a couple more years and we'll all be back in caves scribbling on the walls.

    1. Homard

      Already there

      That would be the public toilets and local amenities. Which resemble caves as the lights are smashed.

      So FAIL, but how is it fixed ?

      Not asking you for an answer. I don't have one.

  74. Combat Wombat

    I say...

    We accelerate the gene pool cleaning process... and start an "extreme planking" group

    The more dangerous the photo.. the better.

  75. Just Thinking


    Isn't that what photoshop was invented for?

  76. Martin Maloney

    It's not gonna last

    Planking, like any other fad, will eventually lose its novelty.

    In this case, people will get board.

    Ah, the loneliness of the long-distance punner.

  77. Mark .


    "Er, no... if while doing planking (or any other activity) - which is in-and-of-itself not illegal - you do something illegal in order to achieve it, then there is no "right" for you to turn to. "

    Er, how does that contradict what was said here?

    Planking isn't the problem (as much as the media would like to scaremonger over), it's doing stupid and/or illegal things. The article didn't say people were defending the right to do illegal things, they were defending the right to do "planking", which as you say yourself, is not illegal. Please let's not join in with the Daily Mail-style "Internet Facebook craze killed this person" scaremongering.

  78. sollyatwell

    one less

    plank in the world

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