SALT LAKE CITY — If you’re wanting to post that Bird Box Challenge video you filmed with your friends, you may no longer be able to, at least not on YouTube.
What happened: On Jan. 15, YouTube announced it has revised its policies to prohibit content that is likely to result in serious physical harm and is warning content creators that they have two months to clean their channels of this content, according to NBC News.
- AnFAQ posted by YouTube about the changes reads: “YouTube is home to many beloved viral challenges and pranks, like Jimmy Kimmel’s Terrible Christmas Presents prank. … That said, we’ve always had policies to make sure what’s funny doesn’t cross the line into also being harmful or dangerous.”
- YouTube’s safety guidelines now clarify what this means for dangerous challenges or pranks videos.
Videos that will be prohibited:
- Instructional bomb making
- Challenges encouraging acts with an inherent risk of severe physical harm
- Pranks that make victims believe they’re in physical danger
- Pranks that cause emotional distress to children
- Hard drug use
- Other acts that may result in physical injury
Videos that may be allowed: According to YouTube’s revised policy, videos that depict dangerous and harmful activities may be allowed if they are educational, documentary, scientific, artistic or not gratuitously graphic.
Why: YouTube didn’t specify the catalyst for the policy changes, but we have some ideas.
- The Bird Box Challenge: The popularity of Netflix’s “Bird Box” movie spawned a slew of Bird Box Challenge videos where participants complete everyday tasks with a blindfold on.
- Netflix warned of the dangers of this challenge, which proved warranted after a Utah teen caused a car accident participating in it.
- A week ago, YouTuber Jake Paul, who has 17.7 million subscribers on YouTube, posted a 24-hour Bird Box Challenge video where, according to The Daily Dot, Paul drove a car, disrupted a library, walked into L.A. traffic and harassed a restaurant full of people all while blindfolded. The video has since been removed.
- The Tide Pod Challenge: A year ago this month, YouTubers went viral and subsequently had their content banned by the video platform for participating in the Tide Pod challenge, where participants bite into and swallow the contents of Tide’s detergent packets.
- FamilyOFive: Last summer, Mike and Heather Martin of the since-terminated FamilyOFive YouTube channel were sentenced to five years probation and lost custody of two of their childrenafter using the platform to make prank viral videos featuring depictions of child abuse, according to Buzzfeed News.
How well will policy changes be enforced? It’s not clear how well YouTube will manage accounts posting offending content.Comment on this story
- Last year, Business Insider reported that YouTube removed over 8.3 million offensive videos in three months.
- YouTube came under fire hours after that report for publishing explicit video thumbnails depicting women engaging in bestiality.
- YouTube has been consistently watchdogged for similar inconsistencies in policies and enforcement.
Nevertheless, YouTube’s current message to its content creators is clear: if you want to participate in harmful or dangerous activities, share it somewhere else.