Spam, deceptive practices and scams policies

The safety of our creators, viewers and partners is our highest priority. We look to each of you to help us protect this unique and vibrant community. It's important that you understand our Community Guidelines and the role that they play in our shared responsibility to keep YouTube safe. Take the time to carefully read the policy below. You can also take a look at this page for a full list of our guidelines.
Note: We recently reorganised our community guidelines to provide further clarity around our policies related to misinformation on YouTube. To review these policies, read our articles on misinformation and elections misinformation.

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, report it. Instructions for reporting violations of our Community Guidelines are available here. If you've found a few 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 that they'll see something but instead directs them off the site.
    • Gets clicks, views or traffic from YouTube by promising viewers that they'll make money fast.
    • Sends audiences to sites that spread harmful software, try to gather personal info or other sites that have a negative impact.
  • Misleading metadata or thumbnails: Using the title, thumbnails or description to trick users into believing that the content is something 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).
  • Incentivisation spam: Content that sells engagement metrics such as views, likes, comments or any other metric on YouTube. This type of spam can also include content where the only purpose is to boost subscribers, views or other metrics. For example, 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 info from viewers, misleadingly drive viewers off YouTube or perform any of the prohibited behaviours noted above.
  • Repetitive comments: Leaving large numbers of identical, untargeted or repetitive comments.
  • Third-party content: Live streams intended to stream content that belongs to somebody else and are not corrected after repeated warnings of possible abuse. Channel owners should actively monitor their live streams and correct any potential issues in a timely manner.

This policy applies to videos, video descriptions, comments, live streams and any other YouTube product or feature. Bear in mind that this isn't a complete list. Please note that these policies also apply to external links in your content. This can include clickable URLs or verbally directing users to other sites in the video, as well as other forms.

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

Video spam

The following types of content are not allowed on YouTube. Bear in mind that this list isn't a complete list.

  • Content that promises viewers that they'll watch something but instead directs them off the site to view it.
  • 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 harmful software or directing them to sites that might compromise their privacy.
  • Auto-generated content that computers post without regard for quality or viewer experience.
  • Promising money, products, software or gaming perks at no charge if viewers install software, download an app or perform other tasks.
  • Massively posting affiliate content in dedicated accounts.
  • Repeatedly uploading content that you don't own and that isn't EDSA.

Misleading metadata or thumbnails

The following types of content are not allowed on YouTube. Bear in mind that this list isn't a complete list.
  • A thumbnail with a picture of a popular celebrity that has nothing to do with the content.
  • Using the title, thumbnails or description to trick users into believing that the content is something it is not. For example, when there's a serious risk of egregious real-world harm.

Scams

The following types of content are not allowed on YouTube. Bear in mind that this list 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. Bear in mind that this list isn't a complete list.
  • Videos where the purpose is to encourage viewers to subscribe.
  • 'Sub4sub' 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. Bear in mind that this list 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 type of content could be:
    • Movies
    • TV shows
    • Concerts
  • Posting links to harmful software or phishing sites in comments: 'omg just got tons of b∪cks from here! – [xyz phishing site].com'
  • Comments with links to counterfeit shops.
  • 'Hey, take a look at my channel/video here!' when the channel/video has nothing to do with the video that it was posted in.
  • Posting the same comment repeatedly with a link to your channel.

Third-party content

The following types of content are not allowed on YouTube. Bear in mind that this list 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, these are just some examples. Don't post content if you think that it might violate this policy.

What happens if content violates this policy

If your content violates this policy, we may suspend your monetisation or terminate your channel or account. Learn more about monetisation policies and channel or account terminations

For some violations, we may remove the content and issue a warning or a strike against your channel. If this happens, we'll send you an email to let you know.

You can take policy training to allow the warning to expire after 90 days. However, if your content violates the same policy within that 90-day window, the warning will not expire and your channel will be given a strike. If you violate a different policy after completing the training, you will get another warning. We may prevent repeat offenders from taking policy training in the future.

If you get three strikes within 90 days, your channel will be terminated. Learn more about our strike system.

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