YouTube Is Now Banning Prank, Challenge Videos That Promote Harm And Threat To Viewers

Written by on January 29, 2019

Maria Therese Agcopra Agcopra – Fourth Estate Contributor

Los Angeles, CA, United States (4E) – YouTube is now banning videos containing dangerous pranks following concerns about challenges that put the safety and life of viewers and other people at risk.

On Tuesday, YouTube, which is owned by Google, updates its guidelines and policies to prohibit users from uploading prank or challenge videos “that can cause death and/or have caused death in some instances.”

The guidelines also cited samples of these dangerous challenges, such as the Tide Pod challenge. The Tide Pod challenge was a trend that started in January 2018 and encouraging children to ingest the laundry packets. Participants would then post their videos on various video-sharing websites, including YouTube.

The American Association of Poison Control Centers issued an alert after receiving a high number of calls about “intentional exposures” to such laundry packets among teenagers.

A more recent incident involving these challenges is the “Bird Box” challenge, which is based on the hit Netflix horror movie starring Sandra Bullock. The challenge requires participants to do everyday tasks while blindfolded. One teenager in Utah attempted to drive without her sight.

Lt. Travis Lyman of the Layton Police Department told CBS News that the driver was a 17-year-old girl who was driving a truck. While driving blindfolded, she swerved into oncoming traffic and hit another vehicle. Luckily, the driver, her passenger, and the driver of the other vehicle did not obtain any injuries.

“YouTube has long prohibited videos which promote harmful or dangerous activities,” a spokesperson for YouTube told CNN. “We routinely review and update our enforcement guidelines to make sure they’re consistent and appropriately address emerging trends.”

Not only is YouTube putting a ban on dangerous challenges, but they are also doing a clampdown on videos with “harmful and dangerous content” and “pranks with a perceived danger of serious physical injury.” For instance, the drive-by shooting prank, which causes panic by making victims believe that they are in apparent danger, will no longer be booted up on the site.

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