YouTube clarifies rules on pranks as risky memes rage

YouTube BANS dangerous Bird Box style prank videos that encourage you to drive while blindfolded and undertake other risky challenges

  • Platform  have warned users not to post videos of dangerous activities 
  • Youtube is home to many challenges including the famous ice bucket challenge
  • The company already have a policy on pranks but they have clarified the rules
  • This follows a series of videos of people performing Bird Box-inspired pranks 

YouTube has banned people from posting videos of dangerous pranks and challenges like the Bird Box challenge in which people drive their cars blindfolded.   

The company have already forbid content containing dangerous activities but have revealed new policies following a series of dangerous activities posted online.

Youtube creators have been using the platform for variety of challenges – such as the ice bucket challenge to raise money for charity.

But one dangerous trend inspired by Netflix show Bird Box is where users are encouraged to drive while blindfolded.

This among many other Birdbox-inspired videos has caused particular concerns. 

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 YouTube has banned people from posting videos of dangerous pranks and challenges like the Bird Box challenge in which people drive their cars blindfolded. They have already forbid content containing dangerous activities but have revealed new policies following a series of dangerous activities posted online 

The clarifications ‘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 company said in a blog post.

‘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.’

It made clear the updated policies ban pranks that trick people into thinking they are in danger, such as fake home invasions or drive-by shootings.

‘YouTube is home to many beloved viral challenges and pranks, like Jimmy Kimmel’s ‘Terrible Christmas Presents’ prank or the water bottle flip challenge,’ said YouTube, owned by Google’s parent Alphabet.


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‘That said, we’ve always had policies to make sure what’s funny doesn’t cross the line into also being harmful or dangerous.’

While playful or goofy challenges or pranks have become raging trends online, with video shared at YouTube or Facebook, some ‘memes’ have put people in jeopardy.

A ‘Fire Challenge’ dared people to put flammable liquid on their bodies then ignite it, while a ‘Tide Pod Challenge’ involved people, typically teens, biting or chewing the encapsulated candy-colored laundry detergent.

A ‘Bird Box’ thriller released on Netflix a month ago inspired a challenge for people to do things blindfolded, mimicking characters in the original streaming film.

A US teenager over the weekend crashed while driving with her eyes covered, taking part in a challenge inspired by the hit Netflix show, according to media reports.

YouTube policy also bans pranks that cause children trauma, for example the fake death of a parent or severe abandonment, according to the firm.

Accounts that post videos violating policies on pranks will get a ‘strike’ that will limit some features such as live streaming.

A second strike within three months will result in even more limited use of YouTube, while accounts getting three strikes in that time period will be terminated.

YouTube is one of several social media and internet services that has been accused of failing to properly police its platform, with legislators in the UK and the US warning they may introduce regulation if firms do not become more proactive. 

YouTube said it had worked with child psychologists to help develop its guidelines around the types of pranks which are acceptable for the site. 

Videos that showed ‘the fake death of a parent or severe abandonment or shaming for mistakes’ were cited as those that ‘crossed the line’. 

Last year a public awareness campaign was launched in the US after an increase in poisoning reports linked to a video challenge to eat detergent pods went viral on the site. 

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