How YouTube evaluates Educational, Documentary, Scientific, and Artistic (EDSA) content

Our Community Guidelines aim to make YouTube a safer community. Sometimes, content that would otherwise violate our Community Guidelines may stay on YouTube when it has Educational, Documentary, Scientific, or Artistic (EDSA) context. In these cases, the content gets an EDSA exception. This article has tips for how you can add context – more information that informs or educates viewers – to your EDSA content.

Note: Adding context to your EDSA content doesn’t guarantee that it will get an EDSA exception.

How content gets an EDSA exception

Our content reviewers assess whether content gets an EDSA exception on a case-by-case basis. First, we check if there’s a Community Guidelines violation in the content. If there’s a violation, we review if there’s enough context in the content to make an EDSA exception. We review WHAT context is present and WHERE the context is.

What context to add to your EDSA content

The type of context you must include to get an EDSA exception depends on what’s in the content.

We make most EDSA exceptions when content has one or more of the following:

1. Basic facts about what’s happening in the content: Identify who’s in the content, describe what the content shows or when and where it takes place, or explain why certain content is present. 

Examples of basic facts

Basic facts are especially helpful when content is violent or graphic or shows nudity or sex. This content may be less harmful to viewers when there’s context.

These examples illustrate content that’s more likely and less likely to get an EDSA exception: 

More likely to get an EDSA exception

Less likely to get an EDSA exception

Security footage that shows victims of a violent robbery getting injured with details in the video. Details may include where and when the crime took place and why the video is posted.

Security footage that shows victims of a violent robbery getting injured with emoji, like 😆 or 😲, superimposed on the imagery.

Surgery footage that shows open wounds with details in the video. Details may include what type of surgery is taking place and why.

Surgery footage that shows open wounds with a title or description that says it will “gross out” or “shock” the viewer.

Brief nudity that’s part of a theatrical performance, in which the nudity is shown in the context of a longer storyline.

Clips of nudity pulled from various documentaries with vulgar text overlaid.

Footage of violence in which people are seen suffering fatal injuries that includes production credits letting viewers know the violence is part of a dramatic performance.

Footage of violence in which people are seen suffering fatal injuries where an average viewer wouldn’t be able to tell if the violence is real or part of a dramatic performance.

 

2. Condemnation, opposing views, or satire: Communicate that your content condemns certain claims, includes opposing points of view, or is satirical.

Examples of condemnation, opposing views, or satire

An emphasis on condemnation, opposing views, or satire is especially helpful when the subject of the content is hate speech or misinformation. Some content can be misleading on its own, but it may be less harmful to viewers when there’s context. Context can include criticizing a hateful ideology, or discrediting false claims by highlighting views from authoritative sources, like health or election authorities.
These examples illustrate content that’s more likely and less likely to get an EDSA exception:

More likely to get an EDSA exception

Less likely to get an EDSA exception

Content where an individual makes a false claim that individuals who are older than a certain age aren’t allowed to vote in a democratic election. The content also clarifies that the claim is false.

Content where an individual makes a false claim that individuals who are older than a certain age aren’t allowed to vote in a democratic election without more context.

Content where an individual makes a false claim that COVID-19 vaccines contain microchips, and a critic of that individual states that the claim is false.

Content where an individual claims that approved COVID-19 vaccines contain microchips without more context.

Content that quotes an individual who calls for violence against a group based on their race. The content criticizes and condemns the individual’s actions.

Content where an individual calls for violence against a group based on their race without more context, or with a title or description promoting violence.

 

3. Discouragement of dangerous behavior: Tell viewers not to imitate what’s in the video.

Examples of discouraging dangerous behavior

Discouraging imitation helps reduce the risk of harm to viewers and the YouTube community. This is especially helpful when content shows activities that are harmful or dangerous or when content is related to self-harm. Remember that this is not a free pass to promote dangerous behavior. Saying, “Don’t try this at home” may not result in an exception if the content promotes or celebrates dangerous behavior.
These examples illustrate content that’s more likely and less likely to get an EDSA exception:

More likely to get an EDSA exception

Less likely to get an EDSA exception

Content that shows a home invasion prank, and the content tells the viewer not to imitate the dangerous activity.

Content that shows a home invasion prank or a reaction video to a home invasion prank. Laughing or reacting to a dangerous activity may not be enough to reduce the potential harm of a viewer imitating it.

Content that shows a dangerous road stunt that could injure bystanders. The content tells the viewer not to imitate the stunt or recommends professional supervision.

Content that shows a dangerous road stunt that could injure bystanders without more context.

 

Note: The above examples aren't a complete list of the context that you can add to your EDSA content. When in doubt, add multiple forms of context to your EDSA content. To help prevent content from causing harm, include the info in your video, not just your video’s title or description.

When in doubt, include different types of context described above: basic factual information that explains what’s in your content, multiple points of view, and clear discouragement against imitating dangerous or harmful behavior. Be sure to include this information in the content itself, like the video or audio, to help avoid the content potentially causing harm. In some cases, we may apply an age restriction or warning to content even if it gets an EDSA exception because some viewers may find it sensitive or inappropriate (for example, war zone footage).

WHERE to add context to your EDSA content

You can add context to your:

  • Video
    • For example, you can add footage or text overlays.
  • Audio
    • For example, you can add narration including condemnation or a countervailing point of view.
  • Video title
  • Video description
Note: We don’t make EDSA exceptions for context that may be in comments, tags, channel descriptions, pinned comments, or other surfaces. That content isn’t always visible to viewers.
Important: For content that risks the most harm, we require context in the VIDEO or AUDIO. The video and audio are the parts of the content where viewers will most likely get the context, including when the content is embedded on other websites or apps. Content where we require context in the audio or video to give an EDSA exception includes content related to hate speech, violent criminal organizations, child safety, suicide and self-harm, and graphic violence.

What about other types of content, like comments?

The same policies and guidelines that apply to videos also apply to other types of content.

Content that doesn’t get EDSA exceptions

Certain content isn’t allowed on YouTube, even if it has context added. Don’t post:

  • Child Sexual Abuse Media (CSAM)
  • Video, still imagery, or audio of violent physical sexual assaults
  • Footage filmed by the perpetrator of a deadly or major violent event that shows weapons, violence, or injured victims
  • Unmodified reuploads of content created by or glorifying violent terrorist or criminal organizations
  • Instructions on how to self-harm or die by suicide
  • Instructions on how to build a bomb that’s meant to injure or kill others
  • Instructions on how to manufacture a firearm or prohibited accessories
  • Offers of prohibited sales
  • Instructions on how to use computers or information technology to compromise personal data or cause serious harm to others
  • Content that reveals an individual’s private information, such as their home address, email addresses, sign-in credentials, phone numbers, passport number, or bank account information (doxxing)
  • Hardcore pornography
  • Spam
Was this helpful?
How can we improve it?
Search
Clear search
Close search
Google apps
Main menu
Search Help Center
false
false
true
true
59
false
false