YouTube Cracks Down on Stunts Amid 'Bird Box' Challenge Videos
After a wave of YouTube videos showing blindfolded people driving or doing other tasks in what have been dubbed "Bird Box" challenges, the platform is cracking down on "content that encourages dangerous activities" or could lead to "serious harm."
The video sharing platform published new guidelines on Tuesday in an apparent attempt to restrict content showing people doing harmful things as part of viral challenges.
Most recently, the "Bird Box" challenge, inspired by the Netflix horror flick, has many posting videos of themselves trying to do everyday things blindfolded. In the movie, Sandra Bullock's character is forced to wear a blindfold to avoid looking at ominous beings while she navigates spooky woods and a dangerous river to save her children.
One video found by Inside Edition shows a blindfolded driver receiving instructions from a passenger. Another shows a person driving a lawn mower while blindfolded.
In Utah, a teenager crashed her car into another while attempting the challenge, according to police. "Predictable result," officials posted on Twitter, together with images of the crash.
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/4DvYzrmDA2January 11, 2019
Earlier this month, Netflix tweeted a warning following the spike in videos.
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.January 2, 2019
YouTube said in a post on the update that it's "always had policies to make sure what’s funny doesn’t cross the line into also being harmful or dangerous." That said, the platform updated its guidelines to outline more clearly what types of challenges and pranks are or aren't allowed.
"We’ve updated our external guidelines to make it clear that challenges like the Tide pod challenge or the Fire challenge, that can cause death and/or have caused death in some instances, have no place on YouTube," the post said.
"We’ve made it clear that our policies prohibiting harmful and dangerous content also extend to pranks with a perceived danger of serious physical injury," YouTube said. "We don’t allow pranks that make victims believe they’re in serious physical danger – for example, a home invasion prank or a drive-by shooting prank.
"We also don’t allow pranks that cause children to experience severe emotional distress, meaning something so bad that it could leave the child traumatized for life."
The post did not specifically mention "Bird Box" as being the impetus behind the update.
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