Fake Engagement Policy

Content that links to or promotes third-party services that artificially inflate views, likes, subscribers or other metrics is not allowed on YouTube. We consider engagement to be legitimate when a human user's primary intent is to interact with content free of coercion or deception.

If you see content that violates this policy, please report it. Instructions for reporting violations of our Community Guidelines are available here. If you have found multiple videos, comments or a user's entire channel that you wish to report, please visit our reporting tool, where you will be able to submit a more detailed complaint.

What this means for you

If you're posting content

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

  • 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 are allowed to encourage viewers to do things such as subscribe, hit the like button, share or leave a comment
  • Content featuring a user 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. Please note that this is not a complete list.

How engagement is measured

Subscriber numbers displayed in the following places are updated in real time:

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

The number of subscribers that you see in YouTube Analytics may be different than the subscriber count on your YouTube channel. The number in YouTube Analytics is delayed by approximately 48 hours. This is because we want to make sure that the numbers are 100% accurate, so we perform additional verification and spam reviews.

Page traffic determined 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 towards your total number of subscribers or views. These are not active viewers, so their removal shouldn't have an impact on your views or watch time.

If you've had a video removed for view count gaming, take a look at this page in the Help Centre to learn more.


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

  • A video testimonial in which a user shows themselves successfully purchasing artificial page traffic from a third party
  • A video in which a user links to a third-party artificial page traffic provider in a promotional or supportive context, for example, 'I got one million subscribers on this video in a day and you can too!'
  • A video that attempts to force or trick viewers into watching another video through deceptive means (for example, a misleadingly labelled info card)
  • Channels dedicated to providing artificial channel engagement traffic or promoting businesses that exist for this sole purpose

Please remember that 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 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.

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