Spam, deceptive practices & scams policies



Updated July 2 2019: This article now includes more examples of content that violates this policy. There are no policy changes. 


Spam, scams, and other deceptive practices that take advantage of the YouTube community aren’t allowed on YouTube. We also don’t allow content where the main purpose is to trick people into leaving YouTube for another site.

If you see content that violates this policy, please report it. Instructions for reporting violations of our Community Guidelines are available here. If you have found multiple videos, comments, or a user’s entire channel that you wish to report, please visit our reporting tool, where you will be able to submit a more detailed complaint.

What this means for you

If you're posting content

Don’t post content on YouTube if it fits any of the descriptions noted below.

  • Video Spam: Content that is excessively posted, repetitive, or untargeted and does one or more of the following:
    • Promises users they will see something but instead directs them off site.
    • Gets clicks, views, or traffic off YouTube by promising users that they’ll quickly make money.
    • Sends audiences to sites that spread malware, try to gather personal information, or other sites that have a negative impact.
  • Misleading Metadata or Thumbnails: Using the title, thumbnails, description, or tags to trick users into believing the content is something it is not.
  • Scams: Content offering cash gifting, “get rich quick” schemes, or pyramid schemes (sending money without a tangible product in a pyramid structure).
  • Voter Suppression: Content aiming to mislead voters about the time, place, means or eligibility requirements for voting.
  • Incentivization Spam: Content that sells engagement metrics such as views, likes, comments, or any other metric on YouTube. This also includes content where the only purpose is to boost subscribers, views, or other metrics (e.g., “sub4sub” content).
  • Comments Spam: Comments where the sole purpose is to gather personal information from users, misleadingly drive users off YouTube, or perform any of the prohibited behaviors noted above.
  • Repetitive comments: Leaving large amounts of identical, untargeted or repetitive comments.

This policy applies to videos, video descriptions, comments, live streams, and any other YouTube product or feature. Please note this is not a complete list.

Note: You are allowed to encourage viewers to do things such as subscribe, hit the like button, share or leave a comment.


Here are some examples of content that’s not allowed on YouTube.

  • Telling users they can vote through fake methods like texting their vote to a particular number, providing made up voter eligibility requirements like saying that a particular election is only open to voters over 50 years old, or deliberately telling users an incorrect election date.

More examples

Video Spam

The following types of content are not allowed on YouTube. This is not a complete list.

  • Content that promises users they will see something but instead directs them off site in order to view. 
  • Posting the same content repeatedly across one or more channels.
  • Massively uploading content that you scraped from other users.
  • Trying to get users to install malware, or directing them to sites that might compromise their privacy.
  • Content that is autogenerated by computers in order to post it quickly and without regard for quality or user experience.
  • Promising money, products, software, or gaming perks for free if users install software, download an app, or perform other tasks.

Misleading metadata or thumbnails 

The following types of content are not allowed on YouTube. This is not a complete list.
  • Placing excessive tags in the video description (“tag stuffing”) rather than placing them as tags upon upload.
  • A thumbnail with a picture of a popular celebrity that has nothing to do with the content. 


The following types of content are not allowed on YouTube. This is not a complete list.
  • Making exaggerated promises, such as claims that users can get rich quickly.
  • Promoting cash gifting or other pyramid schemes. 
  • Accounts dedicating to cash gifting schemes. 
  • Videos that promise "You will make $50,000 tomorrow with this plan!" 

Incentivization Spam

The following types of content are not allowed on YouTube. This is not a complete list.
  • Videos where the purpose is to encourage users to subscribe. 
  • "Subs 4 Subs" videos.
  • Videos that offer "likes" for sale. 
  • A video that offers to give the channel to the 100,000th subscriber without any other content. 

Comments Spam 

The following types of content are not allowed on YouTube. This is not a complete list.
  • Comments about surveys or giveaways that promote pyramid schemes.
  • Pay Per Click referral links in comments.
  • Comments that falsely claiming to offer full video content (movies, TV shows, concerts).
  • Posting links to malware or phishing site in comments:"omg just got tons of  B∪cks from here! - [xyz phising site].com"
  • Comments with links to counterfeit stores. 
  • "Hey guys check out my channel/video here!!” when the channel/video has nothing to do with the video it was posted in. 
  • Posting the same comment over and over again with a link to your channel. 

Please remember these are just some examples, and don't post content if you think it might violate this policy. 

What happens when content violates this policy

If your content violates this policy, we’ll remove the content and send you an email to let you know. If this is the first time you’ve posted content that violates our Community Guidelines, you’ll get a warning with no penalty to your channel. If it’s not, we’ll issue a strike against your channel. Your channel will be terminated if you receive 3 strikes. You can learn more about our strikes system here.

  Visit Creator Academy for more

Would you rather learn about this policy through videos and quizzes? Check out our Creator Academy course.

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