Fake Engagement Policy

YouTube doesn’t allow anything that artificially increases the number of views, likes, comments, or other metric either through the use of automatic systems or by serving up videos to unsuspecting viewers. Additionally, content that solely exists to incentivize viewers for engagement (views, likes, comments, etc) is prohibited.

Content and channels that don't follow this policy may be terminated and removed from YouTube.

Important:  If you hire someone to promote your channel, their decisions may impact your channel. Any method that violates our policies may result in content removal or a channel takedown, whether it's an action taken by you or someone you've hired.

We consider engagement to be legitimate when a human user’s primary intent is to interact with content free of coercion or deception, or where the sole purpose of the engagement is financial gain. 

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 this policy means for you

If you're posting content

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

  • Links to or promotes third-party services that artificially inflate metrics like views, likes, and subscribers
  • Content linking to or promoting third-party view count or subscriber gaming websites or services
  • Offering to subscribe to another creator’s channel only if they subscribe to your channel (“sub4sub”)
    • Note: You're allowed to encourage viewers to subscribe, hit the like button, share, or leave a comment
  • Content featuring a creator purchasing their views from a third party with the intent of promoting the service

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.

How engagement is measured

Subscriber numbers displayed in the following places update in real time:

  • Your channel page
  • Account switcher
  • Video watch page
  • Third-party sites and apps using the YouTube Data API

The number of subscribers in YouTube Analytics may be different than the subscriber count on your YouTube channel. The number in YouTube Analytics is approximately 48 hours behind. The delay lets us perform extra verification and spam reviews so the numbers are accurate.

Page traffic found to be artificial will not be counted on YouTube and can lead to strikes on your account. Suspended accounts and subscribers that are identified as spam will not count toward your total number of subscribers or views. These aren't active viewers, so their removal shouldn’t impact your views or watch time.

If you've had a video removed for view count gaming, check out this page in the Help Center to learn more.

Examples

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

  • A video testimonial in which a creator shows themselves successfully purchasing artificial page traffic from a third party
  • A video in which a creator links to a third party artificial page traffic provider in a promotional or supportive context. For example: “I got 1 million subscribers on this video in a day and you can too!”
  • A video that tries to force or trick viewers into watching another video through deceptive means (for example: a misleadingly labeled info card)
  • Channels dedicated to artificial channel engagement traffic or promoting businesses that exist for this sole purpose

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 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.

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