Violent or graphic content policies

Real, dramatized, or fake violence

Real depictions of graphic or violent content

Increasingly, YouTube is becoming an outlet for citizen journalists, documentarians, and other users to publish accounts of what is happening in their daily lives. It is inevitable that some of these videos will contain content that is violent or graphic in nature.

It’s not okay to post violent or gory content that’s primarily intended to be shocking, sensational, or gratuitous. If a video is particularly graphic or disturbing, it should be balanced with additional context and information.If posting graphic content in a news, documentary, scientific, or artistic context, please be mindful to provide enough information to help people understand what's going on. In some cases, content may be so violent or shocking that no amount of context will allow that content to remain on our platforms. Don't encourage others to commit specific acts of violence. Violent content that is not accepted includes inflicting unnecessary suffering or harm to animals as well as encouraging or coercing animals to fight.

If the violence shown in your video is particularly graphic, please make sure to post as much information as possible in the title and metadata to help viewers understand what they are seeing. Providing documentary or educational context can help the viewer, and our reviewers, understand why they may be seeing the disturbing content.

For instance, a citizen journalist who captures footage of protesters being beaten and uploads it with relevant information (date, location, context, etc) would likely be allowed. However, posting the same footage without contextual or educational information may be considered gratuitous and may be removed from the site.

Dramatized depictions of graphic or violent content
Some people post videos that contain dramatized depictions of violence. Much like movies and TV, graphic or disturbing content that contains violence, gore, or shocking content is not suitable for minors and will be age-restricted.

Terrorist content

We do not permit terrorist organizations to use YouTube for any purpose, including recruitment. YouTube also strictly prohibits content related to terrorism, such as content that promotes terrorist acts, incites violence, or celebrates terrorist attacks. 

If posting content related to terrorism for an educational, documentary, scientific, or artistic purpose, be mindful to provide enough information so viewers understand the context. Graphic or controversial footage may be subject to age-restrictions or a warning screen.

Content may be age-restricted

In some cases, real, dramatized, or fake violence may not be suitable for all ages. Similar to movie or television ratings, our age-restrictions help viewers avoid watching content that they may not feel is acceptable for themselves or for their children. Learn more about age-restricted content.

In cases where a video’s thumbnail contains violent or graphic content but does not cross the line, the thumbnail may be rejected. If this happens, you’ll get an email and be able to replace the thumbnail. You can read more about policies around thumbnails here

If you wish to avoid watching age-restricted content, look into enabling Restricted Mode.

What we consider when age-restricting depictions of graphic or violent content
  • Whether the video shows scenes containing physical attacks where the injury sustained is bloody or gory.
  • Whether the video shows the graphic aftermath of a violent act.
  • Whether the shots of violence or gore are the focal point of the video.
  • Whether the violence contained in the video is realistic when posted in a dramatic context.
  • Whether the video contains adult themes and is targeting minors.
  • Other factors include:
    • The length of time an image appears in the video
      • Fleeting vs. prolonged exposure especially relative to the overall length of the video.
    • The camera angle and focus
    • The relative clarity of the images in the video

How to report graphic or violent content

You may report videos that you believe violate this policy, or may not be appropriate for all ages, by flagging the video.

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