YouTube clips that depict dangerous or emotionally distressing “pranks” have been banned from the platform. The move comes in response to so-called “challenges” that have sometimes resulted in death or injury.
The Google-owned video sharing site said such material had “no place on YouTube”. However, the firm appears to be failing to enforce its existing rules on harmful content.
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”.
More recently, a challenge inspired by a scene in Netflix show Birdbox involved carrying out activities such as driving while blindfolded. At least one person is known to have crashed as a result.
Also last year, the American Association of Poison Control Centers reported a spike in reported cases of illness from detergent ingestion following a craze that had people eating pods containing laundry detergent.
It prompted the product’s maker, Procter and Gamble, to enlist the help of American Football star Rob Gronkowski to front a public awareness campaign on social media.
In May, Minnesota woman Monalisa Perez, 20, was sentenced to six months in prison after shooting dead 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.
YouTube “We also don’t allow pranks that cause children to experience severe emotional distress, meaning something so bad that it could leave the child traumatized for life.”
YouTube said it had worked closely with child psychologists on what might constitute a traumatic experience. It did not post a full list, but said it included scenarios where a child is tricked into believing their parents had died.