YouTube has an issued a ban on all ‘dangerous’ pranks in the wake of a various “challenges” which have resulted in death or injury.
“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 policy reads.
In a detailed FAQ, the platform said that it is prohibiting the uploading of videos that present a risk of serious danger or death.
Also banned are pranks which make victims believe they’re in serious danger, even if they aren’t, or clips that cause children to experience ‘emotional distress’.
YouTube has begun work to remove existing footage of these pranks and challenges from the platform. In the meantime, creators will be given a two-month grace period before the ban comes into full effect.
On Monday, police in Layton, Utah blamed an online challenge inspired by Netflix horror film Bird Box for a crash in which a 17-year-old girl covered her eyes with a beanie, while driving a truck.
Layton Police tweeted: “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.”
A police investigation was launched on Monday in South Wales, after a blindfolded man walked on train tracks - also participating in the Bird Box challenge.
Footage of the stunt has been viewed nearly 200,000 times since it was uploaded to prankster Ben Phillips’ YouTube channel on Sunday.
In the video, Phillips’ partner, Elliot Giles, is filmed putting on a blindfold and walking along a railway line near Bridgend, South Wales.
Phillips shouts “where are you going, there’s a train coming”, but Giles remains on the tracks while the sound of an oncoming train and a warning bell can be heard.
A British Transport Police spokesman said: “Not only is it shocking to see that someone is willing to put their life in danger by blindfolding themselves and walking onto a live railway, it’s illegal and a criminal act. They are quite literally playing a game of life and death.
“The railway is full of hidden dangers and we cannot overstate how dangerous it is to trespass. Trains travel at incredibly high speed and can often approach silently.
“This footage is being investigated.”
In May, 20-year-old US woman Monalisa Perez from was sentenced to six months in prison after fatally shooting her boyfriend, Mario Ruiz.
The couple had hoped video of their stunt, in which an encyclopaedia was meant to protect Mr Ruiz, would go viral on YouTube.
In 2018, the American Association of Poison Control Centers highlighted a sharp increase in reported cases of illness from detergent ingestion following a craze that had people eating pods containing laundry detergent.
A Buzzfeed report published in January detailed how images revealing, or alluding to, bestiality could still be viewed on Youtube - despite the company promising to remove the material in April 2018.
Some of the videos had attracted many millions of views. YouTube said it “worked to aggressively enforce our monetisation policies to eliminate the incentive for this abuse”.