YouTube changes community guidelines due to ‘Bird Box’ challenge
YouTube is clarifying what "dangerous challenges and pranks" means.January 16, 2019
YouTube is changing some of its policies and strengthening the enforcement of its community guidelines. In an announcement made today, the site reminds users that “dangerous challenges and pranks” aren’t allowed. The move could be related to the Bird Box challenge, based on the Netflix film where fans blindfold themselves for 24 hours and attempt to complete tasks.
The #BirdBoxChallenge challenge started somewhat harmlessly. At first, people were doing activities such as playing drums or putting on makeup blindfolded. However, things quickly took a turn for the worst.
First, one person in Utah got into a crash attempting to do the challenge behind the wheel. Netflix quickly issued a warning on Twitter to prevent accidents and injuries from happening to fans of the film.
“Can’t believe I have to say this, but: PLEASE DO NOT HURT YOURSELVES WITH THIS BIRD BOX CHALLENGE,” the tweet reads. “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.”
The warning didn’t stop controversial YouTube star Jake Paul to try it as well. Paul willingly blindfolded himself and stepped out into traffic with his friend George Janko. Additionally, Paul got behind the wheel while blindfolded and ran into various trash cans.
The original video has been deleted. Before that, YouTube age-restricted and demonetized Paul’s attempt. You can see a few saved GIFs from the video here.
As if that wasn’t enough, one Brazilian tattoo artist decided to try to give someone a chest tattoo blindfolded. Yes, it went as horrible as you’d expect.
YouTube guidelines, explained
Now, YouTube has shared an announcement that it is “strengthening enforcement” of its community guidelines, with a focus on safety.
“We’ve identified areas where we can strengthen enforcement and/or clarify our policies to better protect the YouTube community from people who abuse the platform,” it explains. “Based on this, we’re sharing reminders and ramping up enforcement across a few key areas outlined below.”
The key areas are custom thumbnails, external links and dangerous challenges and pranks.” Specifically about the latter, the announcement reads:
“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,” the note explains. “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.”
Bird Box takes place in a post-apocalyptic environment, with the synopsis reading:
“When a mysterious force decimates the world’s population, only one thing is certain: if you see it, you take your life. Facing the unknown, Malorie finds love, hope and a new beginning only for it to unravel. Now she must flee with her two children down a treacherous river to the one place left that may offer sanctuary. But to survive, they’ll have to undertake the perilous two-day journey blindfolded.”
Watch a trailer for the Netflix film below.