For reasons that absolutely no one could explain, teens have been chowing down on Tide Pods (for bragging rights?) and posting the videos to YouTube. After extensive, baffled coverage by countless media outlets about the trend, those videos are set to be a distant memory preserved only (and not-so-lovingly) by Snopes, for YouTube and Facebook want no part of this craze.
Neither does Tide’s manufacturer, Procter & Gamble, for that matter. The company recently trotted out the New England Patriots’ Rob Gronkowski to film a PSA about the dangers of ingesting the visually attractive but potentially lethal packets of highly-concentrated detergent. CNN Money now reports that the Google-owned YouTube is actively working to remove the viral compilations, and Google has issued a statement to that effect:
“YouTube’s Community Guidelines prohibit content that’s intended to encourage dangerous activities that have an inherent risk of physical harm. We work to quickly remove flagged videos that violate our policies.”
Facebook, which has also been plagued by the trend, has declared that it will not “allow the promotion of self-injury” on its platform and will duly remove the videos as well. To date, at least 10 deaths — two toddlers and eight elderly people with dementia — have been attributed to the ingestion of these pods.
While reports have not surfaced that any of the teens taking the challenge have been hospitalized, the trend followers have clearly been playing with fire. As Tide recently warned consumers about the pods, “They should not be played with, whatever the circumstance is, even if meant as a joke.” The crackdown on YouTube and Facebook will hopefully help ease the craze, and teens will soon start chasing a different trend.