FEED Issue 12

6 CLOUD FOCUS Wildmoka

Words by Neal Romanek



Amid a spate of risky Bird Box challenges and racist political propaganda, YouTube has started clamping down on video content that depicts dangerous behaviours or that promotes hatred, intolerance or discrimination. Inspired by the Netflix film of the same name, the Bird Box challenge calls for people to perform everyday tasks – which, in one high-profile case, included driving – while blindfolded. Prank videos have long been among YouTube’s most popular offerings, but with the emergence of dangerous challenge videos, like Bird Box and (before that) Tide Pod, it has had to rethink its community guidelines. YouTube now makes it clear that any challenges “that cause death and/or have caused death in some instances” and pranks “with a perceived danger of

serious physical injury” are not allowed on the video hosting site. White nationalist political group, Britain First, also caused a storm with an advert that showed the group’s leader, Paul Golding, and a number of its supporters confronting volunteers outside a Muslim outreach stall. The five-and-a-half-minute advert displayed before content relating to Brexit and British politics. YouTube says it does not allow adverts that promote discrimination and reassures it is “working hard to remove content that violates its policies quickly, using a combination of human flagging and review and smart detection policy”. The video sharing service is also investing in extra resources to prevent the misuse of its platform, including hiring more people and using advanced machine learning technology.

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