YouTube Bans ‘Dangerous Challenges and Pranks’ After ‘Bird Box Challenge’

Company says videos “that can cause death and/or have caused death in some instances” will be purged

Bird Box

YouTube is cracking down on users that share “dangerous challenges and pranks,” the Google-owned company announced on Tuesday.

The world’s biggest video platform initially that shared it has a long history of supporting inoffensive pranks in a blog post, saying that it has long been a home to classic prank videos from Jimmy Kimmel and other creators. But also said videos that “cross the line into also being harmful or dangerous” will now be banned.

YouTube said that it won’t tolerate videos “that can cause death and/or have caused death in some instances,” and specifically pointed to the “Tide Pod challenge,” where users ate laundry detergent, and the “Fire challenge,” where people poured lighter fluid on their bodies and set themselves on fire, as two explicit examples of content that’ll now be banned. Last January, YouTube removed Tide Pod challenge videos after dozens of people were treated for poisoning.

The policy update comes only weeks after the “Bird Box challenge”  — where users, inspired by the new Sandra Bullock film on Netflix, walked around or performed stunts while blindfolded — swept YouTube and other social platforms. While most uploads were harmless, some, like one clip of a man walking a blindfolded toddler into a wall, were jarring.

YouTube added it would remove prank videos that “make victims believe they’re in serious physical danger,” like fake home robberies. The company will also remove uploads that cause kids “severe emotional distress.”

Users who have videos removed in the next two months will not receive a strike on their channel, according to the company’s post. Afterward, new uploads will be penalized by the company.