Bird Box Challenge

YouTube has announced a number of important changes to its policies today. Among them is an outright ban on all videos that contain pranks and challenges that the company deems unsafe. There have been reports of some teenagers getting hurt while partaking in challenges such as the bird box or the tide pod challenge. Other instances include extreme pranks, where the victim is left severely traumatized.

YouTube is also banning all videos of pranks that could cause emotional distress on children. The company says that it worked with child psychologists to determine if some forms of pranks can be so bad that it could leave children traumatized for life. This could include things like faking the death of a parent to shaming or abandoning. YouTube says that it is developing guidelines to determine whether or not a particular prank “crosses this line”.

The Bird Box Challenge

Although YouTube did not explicitly mention this, the company’s decision comes days after it was reported that a Teenager crashed her car while partaking on the Bird Box challenge. This is the latest viral challenge on social media where a person tries to navigate a world on blindfolds. This is a trend inspired by the Netflix film Bird Box.

Official Statement from YouTube

YouTube released the following statement regarding the decision to ban all videos with dangerous pranks and challenges on its platform:

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. 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. 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.

Other Policy Changes

YouTube also announced two other policy changes besides the ban on extreme pranks and challenges.

The first of these changes was concerning the use of custom thumbnails on videos. YouTube urged users to follow community guidelines when selecting thumbnails. It says that all thumbnails that violate its guidelines (including images of graphic violence or pornography) would be removed. YouTube also warned that in the future this could result in the channel being issued a strike.

The second change was about linking to external sites from YouTube videos. This is often done to lead to unsafe or illegal sites. YouTube says that it will remove all links that it deems unsafe. Again, it also warned that in the future this could result in the channel being issued a strike.

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