Sorry, world: You’ll have to find some other site to post your videos of you almost killing yourself. YouTube has always said they police content that featured dangerous or harmful behavior, partly to stave off copycats. Now they’re really putting their money where their mouth is: On Tuesday, as per Variety, the platform issued an update explicitly prohibiting videos like the Tide Pod Challenge, in which kids eat plastic balls containing laundry detergent and document the biological rebellion for posterity.
What caused them to step up their guidelines? Perhaps it has something to do with another popular “challenge”: the one for Bird Box, the new Netflix movie in which Sandra Bullock has to blindfold herself so as not to lock eyes with some Medusa-like creatures. The sci-fi-horror thriller, which was not released in theaters, has scored near-record viewers. It’s inspired fun (and, most importantly, non-lethal) memes. It’s also inspired people to, well, blindfold themselves while doing things that you should not be blindfolded for, like one Utah teenager who did so while driving and — whoopsidaisies — crashed her car.
The “Bird Box Challenge” has been a thing since the film dropped in late December, and Netflix was quick to weigh in. In early January, they released a statement dripping with barely concealed bewilderment. “Can’t believe I have to say this, but: PLEASE DO NOT HURT YOURSELVES WITH THIS BIRD BOX CHALLENGE,” the company wrote on their Twitter account. “We don’t know how this started, and we appreciate the love, but Boy and Girl” — referring to the kids in Bullock’s care — “have just one wish for 2019 and it is that you not end up in the hospital due to memes.”
YouTube’s new ruling states that videos that don’t comply with the new rules will lead to a “community strike” against the channel that houses them; three strikes, and they’re out, as it were. Videos already up that violate the terms, which YouTube will remove over the next two months, will not receive a strike.
For the record, not all “Bird Box Challenges” are off-limits. A YouTube rep clarified that the only ones that will be taken down involve life-threatening gambits. So don’t take a video of you biking blindfolded, or scaling mountains blindfolded, or preparing the poisonous fugu fish blindfolded. You could, for instance, watch Bird Box blindfolded.
Incidentally, another challenge YouTube will be policing: the “Fire Challenge,” in which people set themselves on fire. Maybe don’t do that anyway? You are loved.