After the Netflix Original Bird Box became a viral hit, people around the world uploaded videos to YouTube showing them compete in the Bird Box challenge. While some of the clips showing people stumble around their homes were funny, others involved dangerous stunts such as driving while blindfolded.
After receiving demands from the community to not allow these types of dangerous videos, YouTube has announced that it is banning all harmful challenges and pranks.
Dangerous challenges and pranks: Reminder – content that encourages violence or dangerous activities that may result in serious physical harm, distress or death violates our harmful and dangerous policy, so we’re clarifying what this means for dangerous challenges and pranks. YouTube is home to many beloved viral challenges and pranks, but we need to make sure what’s funny doesn’t cross the line into also being harmful or dangerous. We’ve updated our external guidelines to make it clear that we prohibit challenges presenting a risk of serious danger or death, and pranks that make victims believe they’re in serious physical danger, or cause children to experience severe emotional distress. Read more in this Dangerous Challenges & Pranks FAQ.
YouTube’s official policy on harmful or dangerous content has also been updated. The following items were added to the list that already included instructional bomb making, hard drug use, and other acts that may result in serious injury.
- Challenges that encourage acts that have an inherent risk of severe physical harm
- Pranks that make victims believe they’re in physical danger
- Pranks that cause emotional distress to children
Many worry that YouTube’s guidelines are too ambiguous and will lead to some content being deleted while others are left untouched. As YouTuber Philip Defranco discusses, will this only remove videos involving dangerous stunts such as the Bird Box and Tide Pod challenges or will it also wipe the platform free of everything that includes upsetting a child such as Jimmy Kimmel’s Halloween Candy challenge?
To enforce these new policies and deter creators from uploading harmful videos, YouTube is using its community guidelines three-strike rule. After the channel has been stricken three times, the video platform can choose to shut it down completely.
YouTube is giving creators who have previously uploaded this type of content a pass. Over the next two months, any videos that were already uploaded involving harmful pranks or challenges will be deleted without striking the channel.