This week in a blog post, YouTube announced an overhaul to their community guidelines to keep harmful challenges and pranks off the platform.
The announcement comes after a flurry of ‘Bird Box’ challenges inspired by Netflix’s recent hit film of the same name.
In the movie – which Netflix said has been streamed from more than 45 million accounts already – society is brought to collapse due to a sinister presence that forces people to commit suicide once they see it.
The story focuses on Sandra Bullock’s character Malorie and her quest to get her family to safety.
In Bird Box, characters blindfold themselves to avoid looking at this mysterious menace, which has led people all over the internet to come up with the “Bird Box challenge”, where users record themselves attempting to do everyday chores and other activities while blindfolded.
Some of these dares are harmless, like a mum playing in the bathtub with her children. But others are downright dangerous, like a teenager who got in a car accident while driving blindfolded.
Bird Box Challenge while driving…predictable result. This happened on Monday as a result of the driver covering her eyes while driving on Layton Parkway. Luckily no injuries. pic.twitter.com/4DvYzrmDA2
— Layton Police (@laytonpolice) January 11, 2019
YouTube already prohibits challenges and pranks that could put people in danger, but the rising popularity of these clips and the impossible task of curating the mammoth amount of content on the platform has pushed the company to strengthen its regulations.
In the update to YouTube’s community guidelines, the company imposes a ban on all challenges and pranks that might end up putting users in danger of physical harm.
“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,” YouTube spokesperson Camilla wrote in the blog post.
“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.”
As part of the rule change, YouTube is extending its restrictions to both the video thumbnails and attached web links – even if the videos themselves are compliant.
You can check the complete list of bans and restrictions on their official statement here.