Tech & The Web

YouTube Pulling Tide Pod Challenge Videos

YouTube said it is removing videos of people doing the Tide Pod Challenge, a dangerous trend that health professionals are warning parents about.

How sad is it for our society that a social media platform has to actually remove videos of people performing the Tide Pod Challenge?

At least 10 deaths have been linked (so far) to the challenge, which involves people putting the laundry detergent pods into their mouths and, apparently, waiting for the saliva in their mouths to dissolve the pods, releasing the detergent into their mouths.

The pods pictured may or may not be specifically of the Tide brand, but while Tide seems to the brand of choice (since it’s the one mentioned by name in the challenge’s title), health experts fear the danger is the same no matter which brand is involved. As far back as 2013, The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission was speaking out against the notion of putting the pods in one’s mouth, citing the risk of serious injury from ingesting the “highly concentrated, toxic detergent.”

It’s bad enough that back then, the worry was that young children might see the brightly-colored packets and mistake them for candy.

We’re not talking about people who are not young children, but in some cases even young adults or actual adults who are smart enough to know the pods contain detergents, not candy.

They don’t, as far as we know, gulp the liquid laundry detergent in their home when it’s not contained in a dissolving pod. But the pod itself seems enough to make them risk their health so that they can do it on camera and get attention on social media.

And that’s where YouTube is stepping in.

The platform is trying to thwart that potentially-deadly attention-seeking foolishness by removing videos that depict the practice.

YouTube provided a statement to Fast Company:

“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.”

But it goes beyond just removing videos that probably shouldn’t have ever been posted to begin with, C|Net reported. When YouTube removes the video, the YouTube channel that posted it will receive a strike that could result in the channel being closed. That means the channel owner would lose any possible revenue from their videos on the service.

There’s nothing like hitting them in the wallet.

For what it’s worth, videos that discuss the challenge in an “educational or news setting” will be allowed to remain on the service, YouTube said.

Tide’s parent company, Proctor & Gamble, is said to be working with social media networks as well to point out improper uses of its products.

Why is so much being made about this danger? Well, so far, 39 cases have been reported in 2018. That’s the number of cases that was reported in all of 2016, Time says.

So, yes, it’s time to take this seriously, stop whining about being “tired of hearing about it,” and spread the word. No matter how “obvious” it should be — and yes, it should be obvious — please don’t eat laundry soap.

Patrick is a Christian with more than 29 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.