Spam, deceptive practices & scams policies

The safety of our creators, viewers, and partners is our highest priority – and we look to each of you to help us protect this unique and vibrant community. It’s important you understand our Community Guidelines, and the role they play in our shared responsibility to keep YouTube safe. Please take the time to carefully read the policy below. You can also check out this page for a full list of our guidelines.

YouTube doesn’t allow spam, scams, or other deceptive practices that take advantage of the YouTube community. We also don’t allow content where the main purpose is to trick others into leaving YouTube for another site.

If you find content that violates this policy, please report it. Instructions for reporting violations of our Community Guidelines are available here. If you've found multiple videos or comments that you would like to report, you can report the channel.

What these policies mean 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 viewers they'll see something but instead directs them off site.
    • Gets clicks, views, or traffic off YouTube by promising viewers that they’ll make money fast.
    • 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.
  • Manipulated Media: Content that has been technically manipulated or doctored in a way that misleads users (beyond clips taken out of context) and may pose a serious risk of egregious harm.
  • Scams: Content offering cash gifts, “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, or false claims that could materially discourage voting.
  • Suppression of Census Participation: Content aiming to mislead participants about the time, means or eligibility requirements for participating in a census. 

  • Candidate Eligibility: Content that advances false claims related to the technical eligibility requirements for current political candidates and sitting elected government officials to serve in office. Eligibility requirements considered are based on applicable national law, and include age, citizenship, or vital status.
  • Incitement to interfere with democratic processes: content encouraging others to interfere with democratic processes, such as obstructing or interrupting voting procedures.
  • Distribution of hacked materials: content that contains hacked information, the disclosure of which may interfere with democratic processes, such as elections and censuses.
  • 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. offering to subscribe to another creator’s channel solely in exchange for them subscribing to your channel, also known as "Sub4Sub" content).
  • Comments Spam: Comments where the sole purpose is to gather personal information from viewers, misleadingly drive viewers off YouTube, or perform any of the prohibited behaviors noted above.
  • Repetitive comments: Leaving large amounts of identical, untargeted or repetitive comments.
  • Live Stream Abuse: Live streams intended to stream content that belongs to somebody else and are not corrected following repeated warnings of possible abuse. Live streams should be actively monitored by the channel owner, and any potential issues should be corrected in a timely manner.

This policy applies to videos, video descriptions, comments, live streams, and any other YouTube product or feature. Keep in mind that this isn't a complete list.

Note: You're allowed to encourage viewers to subscribe, hit the like button, share, or leave a comment.

Examples

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

  • Telling viewers they can vote through fake methods like texting their vote to a particular number 
  • Giving made up voter eligibility requirements like saying that a particular election is only open to voters over 50 years old
  • Deliberately telling viewers an incorrect election date

More examples

Video Spam

The following types of content are not allowed on YouTube. This isn't a complete list.

  • Content that promises viewers they'll watch something but instead directs them off site to view. 
  • Posting the same content repeatedly across one or more channels.
  • Massively uploading content that you scraped from other creators.
  • Trying to get viewers to install malware, or directing them to sites that might compromise their privacy.
  • Autogenerated content that computers post quickly without regard for quality or viewer experience.
  • Promising money, products, software, or gaming perks for free if viewers install software, download an app, or perform other tasks.
  • Massively posting affiliate content in dedicated accounts.

Misleading metadata or thumbnails 

The following types of content are not allowed on YouTube. This isn't 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. 
  • Using the title, thumbnails, description, or tags to trick users into believing the content is something it is not, especially when there is a serious risk of egregious real world harm.

Manipulated Media

The following types of content are not allowed on YouTube. This isn't a complete list.
  • Inaccurately translated video subtitles that inflame geopolitical tensions creating serious risk of egregious harm.
  • Videos that have been technically manipulated (beyond clips taken out of context) to make it appear that a government official is dead.  
  • Video content that has been technically manipulated (beyond clips taken out of context) to fabricate events where there is a serious risk of egregious harm. 
  • Misattributing a 10 year old video that depicts stuffing of a ballot box to a recent election. 

Voter Suppression and Suppression of Census Participation

The following types of content are not allowed on YouTube. This isn't a complete list.
  • Telling viewers they can vote through inaccurate methods like texting their vote to a particular number.
  • Giving made up voter eligibility requirements like saying that a particular election is only open to voters over 50 years old.
  • Telling viewers an incorrect voting date.
  • Giving incorrect instructions on how to participate in the census.
  • Claiming that a voter’s  political party affiliation is visible on a vote-by-mail envelope.
  • False claims that non-citizen voting has determined the outcome of past elections.  

Candidate Eligibility

The following types of content are not allowed on YouTube. This isn't a complete list.
  • Claims that a candidate or sitting government official is not eligible to hold office based on false information about the age required to hold office in that country.   
  • Claims that a candidate or sitting government official is not eligible to hold office based on false information about citizenship status requirements to hold office in that country.   
  • Claims that a candidate or sitting government official is ineligible for office based on false claims that they’re deceased, not old enough or otherwise do not meet eligibility requirements.

Incitement to interfere in democratic processes

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

  • Telling viewers to create long voting lines with the purpose of making it harder for others to vote
  • Telling viewers to hack government websites to delay the release of elections results 

Distribution of hacked materials

The following types of content are not allowed on YouTube. This isn't a complete list.

  • Videos that contain hacked information about a political candidate shared with the intent to interfere in an election 

Scams

The following types of content are not allowed on YouTube. This isn't a complete list.
  • Making exaggerated promises, such as claims that viewers can get rich fast or that a miracle treatment can cure chronic illnesses such as cancer.
  • Promoting cash gifting or other pyramid schemes. 
  • Accounts dedicated to cash gifting schemes. 
  • Videos that promise "You'll make $50,000 tomorrow with this plan!" 

Incentivization Spam

The following types of content are not allowed on YouTube. This isn't a complete list.
  • Videos where the purpose is to encourage viewers 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 isn't a complete list.
  • Comments about surveys or giveaways that promote pyramid schemes.
  • "Pay Per Click" referral links in comments.
  • Comments that falsely claim to offer full video content. This could be content like movies, TV shows, or concerts.
  • Posting links to malware or phishing site in comments: "omg just got tons of  B∪cks from here! - [xyz phishing 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 repeatedly with a link to your channel. 

Live Stream Abuse

The following types of content are not allowed on YouTube. This isn't a complete list.
  • Using your phone to stream a television show
  • Using 3rd party software to livestream songs from an album

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

What happens if 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 your first time violating 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. If you get 3 strikes, your channel will be terminated. 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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