According to several reports YouTube and Facebook are having to step in to stop the latest internet craze – eating Tide Pods.

For those wondering Tide Pods are brightly coloured packages of laundry detergent in water soluble packaging that you can pop into your washing machine but apparently some teenagers seeking fame infamy have begun posting videos of themselves eating these toxic pods on YouTube and Facebook and have even gone so far as to challenge their friends.

We really wish we were making this up.

The joke about eating the brightly coloured Tide Pods which resemble sweets has been circulating for years but since the clock rolled over to 2018 an alarming number of teenagers have intentionally eating the pods as part of an internet challenge.

CNN reports that in the first 15 days of 2018 the American Association of Poison Control Centers has received as many calls about intentional exposure to laundry packets as it did in the entire year of 2016.

So great is the problem that YouTube and Facebook have had to remove videos showing folks eating the toxic packages.

“YouTube’s Community Guidelines prohibit content that’s intended to encourage dangerous activities that have an inherent risk of physical harm,” said a Google spokesperson.

Facebook is also removing videos that feature the so-called #TidePodChallenge from Instagram.

Even Tide itself had to send out a tweet featuring NFL star Rob Gronkowski telling folks not to eat the pods.

What happens if do eat a Tide Pod? According to reports a person will start foaming at the mouth before they begin vomiting.

Of course all of this could have been avoided if folks just searched for “Tide Pod ingredients”.

A page on the official Tide website lists the chemicals contained in its detergents which include hydrogen peroxide (bleach), ethanol (pure alcohol) and various polymers.

Simply put, nothing a human should be ingesting.

Perhaps given how problematic this situation has become it’s time for Tide to consider changing what these pods look like. The American Association of Poison Control Centers notes that it receives numerous reports each year of young children accidentally ingesting these pods.

Maybe it’s time to make these pods look about as appetising as poison, because if you aren’t using them to clean your clothes that is what they are.

[Image – CC BY 2.0 Austin Kirk]
Brendyn Lotz writes news, reviews, and opinion pieces for Hypertext. His interests include SMEs, innovation on the African continent, cybersecurity, blockchain, games, geek culture and YouTube.