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Spam, deceptive practices, and scams

We are constantly working to keep YouTube free of spam, scams and other deceptive practices that attempt to take advantage of the YouTube community. Below you can learn in more detail what constitutes a violation of these policies.

Video and comment spam

It's not okay to post large amounts of untargeted, unwanted, or repetitive content in videos, comments, private messages, or other places on the site. If the main purpose of your content is to drive people off of YouTube and onto another site, it will likely violate our spam policies.

Artificial traffic spam

Anything that artificially increases the number of views, likes, comments, or other metric either through the use of automatic systems or by serving up videos to unsuspecting viewers, is against our terms. Videos and accounts that are found to be in violation of our terms may be closed down and removed from YouTube. If you are going to hire someone to help promote your content, it should be someone you absolutely trust, as you may be putting the fate of your channel (and your business on YouTube) in their hands. If they are using methods that violate our terms of service, you may be the one to pay the bigger price, as it will be your videos and channel that get taken down. Check out this blog post and this article if you want to learn more.

Misleading metadata

Metadata refers to any and all additional information provided on a video. This includes the title, description, tags, annotations, and thumbnail. The reason we have metadata is so that you can add additional contextual information to your videos. Please do not use these features to game or trick our search algorithms. All metadata should be representative of the content contained in your video. Among other things, metadata added in an attempt to game search algorithms will lead to the removal of your video and a strike against your account.

Please select a reasonable number of tags that most closely reflect your video content. Please also only add tags to the tag section of your metadata. Adding additional tags to the description of your video may constitute spam and can result in the removal of your video.

Misleading or racy thumbnails

Please select the thumbnail that best represents your content. Selecting a sexually provocative thumbnail may result in the removal of your thumbnail or the age-restriction of your video. The thumbnail is the title card that will be shown next to your video across the site and should be appropriate for all ages.

If you are uploading a parody, review or vlog, please choose appropriately representative metadata that will not confuse users into believing that your video is something it is not. This is especially important to remember in relation to current events or viral videos. Please select a thumbnail and title that clearly illustrate that your video is commentary and not footage from an actual event. Videos that are deemed deceptive will be removed from the site and strikes may be issued to the uploader.


Some users create content which attempts to trick others for their own financial gain. Content that deliberately tries to mislead users for financial gain may be removed, and in some cases strikes may be issued to the uploader.

Please be wary of claims that seem too good to be true, as they likely are.

Blackmail or extortion

YouTube has a zero-tolerance policy for extortion and/or blackmail. If someone has recorded a sexually exploitative video of you and has sent the link, please flag this content immediately for removal and contact your local law enforcement.

Reporting spam or deceptive content:

  • Flag the video: You may report videos that contain spam or misleading content by flagging the video.
  • Reporting comments: You may also report comments you believe are spam by clicking the “Flag for spam” feature.
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