YouTube Cracking Down On Dangerous Pranks & Challenges

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YouTube has announced some clarification to its policies on harmful and dangerous videos that specifically addresses prank and challenge videos. Going forward, all videos that show challenges that may result in death or have resulted in death will be stricken from the platform and leave a strike on their account. The same thing will happen to any videos that show pranks that are dangerous, or make people believe they're in danger. Finally, any videos that show instances of children being distressed to the point of possible trauma just for the sake of the video will also be struck down.

To be perfectly clear, all of this technically falls under YouTube's existing rules against harmful behavior. Given the proliferation of such content on the platform lately and the controversy surrounding some instances, the platform setting out clarification and announcing that it's stepping up enforcement seems logical.

To give specific examples, challenges that may result in death or have caused death include things like the blindfolded Bird Box Challenge, the disgusting Tide Pod Challenge, the ill-advised Cinnamon Challenge, and the sinister Momo Challenge, to name a few.


Moving on to pranks, things like the Elevator Samurai videos, wherein the prankster pretended to execute somebody with a convincingly realistic prop sword as the victim got off an elevator then proceeded to chase the victim, will no longer be allowed. Likewise, any pranks that involve serious injury or the chance thereof, such as the famous video of a scientists' peers detonating a car airbag and blowing him into a wall, are also out of the question.

On children, videos that show a child being put in severe distress are not allowed. One example of this is the recent controversy over FamilyOFive. The channel showed allegedly fake videos of "pranks" taking place in a household, such as a father spilling disappearing ink on his son's carpet and scolding him for it only to have it disappear soon after, or instructing four other children to slap his daughter then filming her obviously shaken reaction.

These rules, as always, do not apply to documenting incidental occurrences or showing them for entertainment, within reason. Graphic war footage, real or not, or footage of terrorist acts in context, for example, is allowed for documentary purposes. The same can be said of shooting a video of a street fight you happened to witness. Filming a bullying incident for educational purposes is another good example. What this all means, essentially, is that YouTube is not stepping up censorship or erasing meaningful content. Instead, this move is meant to discourage the creation of content that involves traumatizing or endangering people.

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Arranging and recording such content specifically for the sake of the video is where you'll run afoul of the rules. This means that FailArmy compilations are fair game, since those dangerous and injurious incidents were all accidental and just happened to be recorded. Staging a "fail", or doing something that either could or does result in somebody getting hurt won't be allowed on the platform. The three strikes rule is in effect with this stepped up enforcement, as with any other type of violations; continued strikes over time will result in consequences at YouTube's discretion, and three strikes in a 90 day period means that you are banned and your channel is deleted.