A couple of weeks ago, we wrote about the Bird Box Challenge, the meme wherein a bunch of birdbrains pretended to be blind and recklessly performed dares because they done seen it on the TV. We noted then that the odds of anyone thirsty enough to risk their lives on YouTube learning any kind of valuable lesson out of the experience would be as likely as PewDiePie receiving an NAACP award. But we're so happy to announce that we were wrong. Somebody did learn a lesson: YouTube. They're now so sick of dumb stunts that they're saying such videos will be banned from the platform.
Since its inception (why was that movie never a meme dare?), the optics of the Bird Box challenge have gone from bad to worse. Even after pleas from Netflix to cut that shit out, popular YouTubers kept pulling riskier and riskier stunts to please viewers. But the dangerous dumbness reached its zenith when Jake Paul, a YouTuber so dense that he still hasn't figured out which one of those is his first name, uploaded a video of himself driving blindfolded through traffic, inspiring a teenager to get T-boned in the middle of the road trying to copy him. In her defense, if you see Jake Paul driving into traffic with his eyes shut and get out without a scratch, it's reasonable to assume that karma is on a holiday and all bets are off.
But this stupidity does appear to have a silver lining. It seems that the Bird Box Challenge was the final straw for YouTube, which is now sending all of its juvenile pranksters to bed without dessert or monetization. The website has updated its policies, saying it will block and punish anyone uploading videos that show "pranks with a perceived danger of serious physical injury," or any content that could cause "severe emotional distress" in children (which currently describes every single video on every single kid's YouTube channel).
So let's rejoice that YouTube is heralding a new age of responsibility in med- LOL JK! It's a prank, bro! Admit it, for a second you totally believed that YouTube was going to make radical changes to one of its most popular genres and hamstring some of its most lucrative boneheaded celebrities.
The site has a reputation of claiming content crackdowns after PR disasters and not actually following through, only firing the warning shot to dissuade the worst jackasses of the bunch. In fact, a mere day before this announcement, BuzzFeed News ran a story revealing that despite YouTube promising they would remove all bestiality-themed videos, the site is still lousy with them. And if they haven't even gotten around to caring about hosting videos of girls getting too friendly with horses, it's doubtful they're going to start caring about the average bonehead getting a million views for falling off an escalator.
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Some things that appear fun and wacky have dark secrets at their core.
It's time for these fictional characters to have some accountability.