External links policy

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 you understand our Community Guidelines, and the role they play in our shared responsibility to keep YouTube safe. Take the time to carefully read the policy below. You can also check out this page for a full list of our guidelines.

Links that send users to websites featuring content that violates our Community Guidelines are not allowed on YouTube.

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 this policy means for you

If you're posting content

Don’t post links in your content on YouTube if they direct users to content that violates our Community Guidelines. This includes links that fit any of the descriptions noted below.

  • Links to pornography
  • Links to websites or apps that install malware
  • Links to websites or apps phishing for a user’s login credentials, financial information, etc.
  • Links to websites, apps, or other information technology that give unauthorized free access to audio content, audiovisual content, full video games, software, or streaming services that normally require payment
  • Links to websites that seek to raise funds or recruit for terrorist organizations
  • Links to sites containing Child Sexual Abuse Imagery (CSAI)
  • Links to sites selling items noted in our regulated goods guidelines
  • Links to content that would violate our hate or harassment policies if uploaded to YouTube
  • Links to content encouraging others to commit violent acts
  • Links to content ​​that spread medical misinformation contradicting local health authorities’ (LHA) or the World Health Organization’s (WHO) medical information about COVID-19
  • Links to websites or apps that spread misleading or deceptive content that can cause serious risk of egregious harm, such as interfering with democratic processes

This policy applies to video, audio, video descriptions, comments, pinned comments, live streams, and any other YouTube product or feature. Links can take any form that would direct a user to a site off YouTube, including: clickable urls, showing text of urls in videos or images, obfuscated urls (e.g., writing “dot com” instead of “.com”), verbally directing users to other sites via video or audio, or encouraging viewers to visit creator profiles or pages on other sites. Please note this is not a complete list.

Note: Affiliate content doesn't violate YouTube’s Terms of Use. However, massively posting affiliate content in dedicated accounts may violate our policies around spam. You can learn more about what's allowed in our Spam, deceptive practices & scams policies.

Examples

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

  • A video featuring sexually themed content whose description says “click here to see what YouTube won’t allow!” and contains a link to a pornographic site.
  • A gameplay video whose description contains a link to a website promising free in-game currency or online store credit but really links to a site that infects the user’s computer with malware.
  • Posting a link to a phishing site that steals users’ banking logins and passwords.
  • Instructing viewers to copy and paste an unclickable link in the video that takes them to a pornographic or spammy site.
  • Any link leading users to a website, file hosting service, etc. that allows them to access or download child sexual abuse imagery.
  • Verbally directing viewers to a website to find a profile or page on another platform so they can watch content that violates YouTube’s Community Guidelines.
  • Embedding a url in a video of a site that would mislead voters about the time, place, means, or eligibility requirements for voting.
  • A link to an article claiming that COVID-19 vaccines are part of a depopulation agenda.

Please remember these are just some examples, and don't post content if you think it might violate this policy.

What happens if 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 likely get a warning with no penalty to your channel. If it’s not, we may issue a strike against your channel. If you get 3 strikes within 90 days, your channel will be terminated. You can learn more about our strikes system here.

We may terminate your channel or account for repeated violations of the Community Guidelines or Terms of Service. We may also terminate your channel or account after a single case of severe abuse, or when the channel is dedicated to a policy violation. You can learn more about channel or account terminations here.

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