YouTube is banning videos that depict “dangerous challenges and pranks” in light of a series of viral clips showing people engaging in highly risky stunts.
The update to its guidelines comes after the latest craze, the Bird Box challenge, which has seen YouTubers post clips of them performing activities like driving a car, walking on a railway line and tattooing another person while blindfolded.
The viral hit was inspired by the Netflix film Bird Box, during which characters wear a blindfold to avoid being confronted by a manifestation of their worst fears.
However, this isn’t not the only dangerous viral prank to populate YouTube in recent times. The Tide Pod challenge saw participants eat poisonous laundry detergent pods, while the similarly counterproductive fire challenge saw teens set themselves ablaze.
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In an update to its terms, YouTube said it welcomed many of the viral challenges that have become popular on YouTube, such as the bottle flip, but those with “perceived danger of serious physical harm” are no longer permitted.
The company wrote: “We’ve made it clear that our policies prohibiting harmful and dangerous content also extend to pranks with a perceived danger of serious physical injury.
“We don’t allow pranks that make victims believe they’re in serious physical danger – for example, a home invasion prank or a drive-by shooting prank. We also don’t allow pranks that cause children to experience severe emotional distress, meaning something so bad that it could leave the child traumatized for life.”
Channels featuring the pranks have two months to clean up their act, after that they’ll face censure from the platform.
Google added: “During this time challenges and pranks that violate Community Guidelines will be removed but the channel will not receive a strike. Additionally, content posted prior to these enforcement updates may be removed, but will not receive a strike.”
Is YouTube acting prudently here, or is the company overstepping boundaries by censoring this kind of content? Drop us a line @TrustedReviews on Twitter