Spam, deceptive practices & scams policies

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, channel, 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.

It's not okay to post large amounts of repetitive and/or re-uploaded videos to your channel. If the main purpose of your channel is to monetize other channels' content, it will likely violate our spam policies. If you believe your copyright-protected work was posted on YouTube without authorization, you may submit a copyright infringement notification.

Links to content outside of YouTube

Links on your YouTube Content to external websites that include pornography, malware, or other content that doesn’t meet our Community Guidelines are not allowed on YouTube. Learn more about policy for links in your content.
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. Additionally, content that solely exists to incentivize viewers for engagement (views, likes, comments, etc) is prohibited.
Videos and accounts that are found to be in violation of our terms may be terminated and removed from YouTube.
Be aware that if you hire someone to promote your channel, their decisions may impact your channel. Any method that violates our terms of service can result in a video or channel takedown, whether it's an action taken by you or someone you've hired.
Check out our blog post and article on policies around getting YouTube views through third-party services to learn more.
Misleading metadata

Metadata refers to any and all additional information provided on a video. This includes the title, description, tags, 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, inappropriate, or unacceptable thumbnails

Please select the thumbnail that best represents your content. Selecting a thumbnail that shows nudity or sexually provocative content, is considered hate speech, portrays violence, or is considered harmful or dangerous may result in the rejection of your thumbnail. Some violations may lead to a strike on your account. Repeat offenses may lead to the removal of your custom thumbnail privileges for 30 days and, ultimately, account termination

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.
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.

How to report 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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