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YouTube is cracking down on some of its most popular videos.
2018 alone saw a slew of weird, stupid and, in some cases, dangerous challenges cross our screens. From the infamous Tide Pod challenge to the condom challenge, YouTubers have attempted increasingly dangerous stunts for views. In a surprising move, YouTube announced on Tuesday that the platform is prohibiting “challenges presenting a risk of serious danger or death.”
This change to YouTube’s enforcement of its community guidelines is likely in response to the rise of the Bird Box challenge. The concept behind the challenge was simple—in imitation of the Netflix film by the same name, don a blindfold and attempt a variety of tasks. Videos of YouTubers stumbling through their homes and crashing into walls made splashes online. Jake Paul uploaded a video of himself driving a car, stumbling around a public library and walking onto a busy street, all while blindfolded. A 17-year-old girl from Utah caused a highway crash while driving blindfolded. A tattoo artist even attempted the challenge, which went exactly how you’d expect.
YouTube challenges are headed in a more dangerous direction, and this change aims to help curb deadly stunts. In a statement, the company reminded users that “content that encourages violence or dangerous activities that may result in serious physical harm, distress or death violates our harmful and dangerous policy.”
YouTube noted that its external guidelines have been updated to make it clear that “challenges presenting a risk of serious danger or death” are prohibited. Also prohibited are “pranks that make victims believe they’re in serious physical danger, or cause children to experience severe emotional distress.” The platform is giving users time to adjust with a two-month “grace period.” The next months will see it removing content that violates its community guidelines. Channels displaying prohibited content will not receive a “strike,” but following the grace period uploading prohibited content may lead to negative action from YouTube.
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Nahila Bonfiglio reports on geek culture and gaming. Her work has also appeared on KUT's Texas Standard (Austin), KPAC-FM (San Antonio), and the Daily Texan.