Not even a month into the new year, and a frightening new trend has already taken over a very dumb and juvenile corner of the internet. The Tide Pod Challenge, which involves people ingesting Tide laundry detergent pods and filming the brazenly foolish endeavor, recently proliferated and morphed into a meme, with teens hunting the prospect of viral fame one toxic snack at a time.
But YouTube intervened on Thursday, playing the role of chaperone to these internet thrill-seekers, and vowed to pull any video linked to the Tide Pod Challenge. This is much to the greater good of humanity.
In a statement to Fast Company, the company explained:
"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.”
The move to scrub Tide Pod Challenge videos speaks to -- you guessed it -- the danger of eating a noxious stew of cleaning chemicals: 39 cases of teenagers misusing the pods have been reported this year alone, according to Time. That's a huge uptick from the entirety of 2016, when the American Association of Poison Control Centers reported 39 incidents in total.
Tide parent company Proctor and Gamble says, unsurprisingly, that Tide Pods shouldn't be consumed for shock value or nutritional content. It's also working with social media companies to monitor the influx of Tide Pod Challenge videos. In a statement to Time, the company wrote:
"Laundry pacs are made to clean clothes. They should not be played with, whatever the circumstance, even if meant as a joke. Like all household cleaning products, they must be used properly and stored safely.”
The moral of the first truly idiotic meme of 2018 -- keep in mind it's only January 18 -- is to not eat laundry detergent. Even as time marches forward, it never hurts to remind people of this simple rule: Do not eat Tide Pods.