When Jake Paul strapped on a blindfold and took to the busy Los Angeles streets he was probably hoping for some views on his YouTube channel and for his ‘bird box challenge’ to go viral. While it might have got views, the reaction that has followed couldn’t be further from positive.
Following a rise in dangerous pranks, YouTube has released a statement that extreme pranks which are likely to endanger others or cause harm to children will be removed from the site.
The company insists that this is not directly related to the rise in dangerous versions of the bird box challenge, but rather that it reflects calls on social media platforms to be more responsible about the content they allow.
In a statement on their FAQ page, YouTube said: ‘Our Community Guidelines prohibit content that encourages dangerous activities that are likely to result in serious harm, and today clarifying what this means for dangerous challenges and pranks.
‘Content that features a child participating in dangerous challenges that pose an imminent risk of injury or bodily harm are also not allowed on YouTube.
‘We also don’t allow pranks that lead victims to believe they are in physical danger or that can cause real physical harm.’ Reinforcing ‘dangerous or abusive pranks that may cause emotional distress to children are not allowed.’
This announcement follows a spate of potentially harmful trends of pranks becoming popular on the site such as the Tide Pod challenge, which involves users recording themselves eating laundry detergent ‘pods’, and the Fire challenge, where users set themselves on fire after coating themselves in flammable liquids.
YouTube has highlighted that good-natured pranks which are not dangerous will still be allowed, such as tricking someone with a comical gif or non-dangerous forms of the bird box challenge.