Spam, deceptive practices and scams policies


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 find many videos, comments or a creator's entire channel that you wish to report, visit our reporting tool.

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 that 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 or 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 that the content is something that it is not.
  • 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.
  • Census engagement: Content aiming to mislead participants about the time, means or eligibility requirements for participating in a census. 

  • Incentivisation 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 behaviours 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.


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

  • Telling viewers that 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 that 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.
  • Auto-generated 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. 


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!' 

Incentivisation 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 shops. 
  • '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 third-party software to live stream songs from an album

Remember that these are just some examples. Don't post content if you think that 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 that 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 three 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? Take a look at our Creator Academy course.

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