I’m not the first person to write this on the internet, and I won’t be the last, but good lord, DO NOT EAT TIDE PODS. Unfortunately, what started as a fairly ridiculous meme about how delicious-looking the detergent-filled gel pods are has spiraled into a dangerous meme, with people actually filming themselves eating the blighted poison packs for a shot at 15 minutes of internet fame in the “Tide Pod challenge.”
That buck stops here though, with YouTube commenting that it would remove any Tide Pod challenge videos, noting in a statement to Fast Company that “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.”
According to Time, there have already been 39 reported cases of teenagers misusing the colorful laundry pods so far in 2018 by the American Association of Poison Control Centers. That may not sound like a lot at first glance, but is already a number on par with total incidents over the course of an entire year (39 cases in 2016, and 53 in 2017).
In an earlier statement to Time, Procter & Gamble (which owns Tide) noted that the company was “been working with leading social media networks to remove harmful content that is not consistent with their policies,” and that “laundry pacs are made to clean clothes. They should not be played with, whatever the circumstance, even if meant as a joke.”
So, yeah. Don’t eat laundry pods. The fact that YouTube considers it a violation of community policies and could take down your video, issue strikes against your channel, and possibly remove your entire account shouldn’t factor into this decision, but it’s 2018 and here we are.