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YouTube decides to ban dangerous videos, including ones with the Bird Box Challenge

By Josh Weiss
Sandra Bullock Bird Box Netflix

YouTube has announced that it will immediately remove videos involving "dangerous challenges and pranks" like the "Bird Box challenge" and "Tide Pod challenge." In particular, the Bird Box challenge has been dominating headlines since just after the film (for which it is named) debuted on Netflix a few weeks back.

"Challenges that present an apparent risk of death are not allowed on YouTube," reads a Help Center post from Google, which owns the video-sharing website. "Content that features a child participating in dangerous challenges that pose an imminent risk of injury or bodily harm are also not allowed on YouTube. We also don’t allow pranks that lead victims to believe they are in physical danger or that can cause real physical harm. Dangerous or abusive pranks that may cause emotional distress to children are not allowed."

The movie, based on the book by Josh Malerman and directed by Susanne Bier, centers around unknown entities that cause people to commit suicide if said entities are glimpsed with the naked eye. As a result, the survivors (which include Sandra Bullock) take to wearing blindfolds whenever venturing into the outside world, so as not to go mad.

Racking up 45 million views in its first week online, Bird Box fast became a meme and led to the so-called "challenge" with people trying to live out their normal lives while blindfolded. As you can imagine, the results weren't very positive. Just a few days ago, a teenager in Layton, Utah got in a car crash after covering her eyes with a knit cap. Thankfully, no one was injured, although two vehicles sustained pretty heavy damage.

Netflix even took to Twitter to urge fans not to partake in the dangerous fad.

"Can’t believe I have to say this, but: PLEASE DO NOT HURT YOURSELVES WITH THIS BIRD BOX CHALLENGE. We don’t know how this started, and we appreciate the love, but Boy and Girl have just one wish for 2019 and it is that you not end up in the hospital due to memes," wrote the streaming company on social media.

According to YouTube, the following videos have no place on the website:

  • Instructional bomb making
  • 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
  • Hard drug use
  • Other acts that may result in serious injury

Of course, there are exceptions to the ban, like the posting of instructional and scientific videos, but even then, they can't be too "gratuitously graphic." 

"For example, a news piece on the dangers of choking games would be appropriate, but posting clips out of context from the same documentary might not be," adds the updated guidelines.

The Tide Pod challenge involves a person eating a dissolvable packet of toxic laundry detergent and capturing it on camera. Don't ask us why, no one quite knows the reason.