Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) updates

Current as of 22:35 UTC 18 February 2021

The impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) is evolving every day.  Please check back here for regular updates on how YouTube is addressing the situation.

Latest updates

 

  • [18:00 UTC 17 November 2020] Update to COVID-19 information panels: As a continuation of our efforts to combat COVID-19-related misinformation, we’re updating our COVID-19 information panels to include links to COVID-19 vaccine info. The updated panels may show in search results and on watch pages related to COVID-19 or COVID-19 vaccine info. The updated panels are intended to help users find third-party authoritative COVID-19 vaccine info and are not a judgement on the accuracy of any video.
  • [20:20 UTC 11 August 2020] Premieres: Due to a surge in YouTube Premieres during COVID-19, some channels are temporarily limited to posting Premieres at 15-minute intervals (like 1.15 p.m. or 1.45 p.m. instead of 1.30 p.m. or 2.00 p.m.).
  • [17:00 UTC 10 August 2020] Depression and anxiety information panels available in more countries
    We've launched health information panels on depression and anxiety in 27 more countries. These panels first launched in the US on 13 July 2020 to give easy access to authoritative mental health info during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • [16:30 UTC 13 July 2020] New health information panels for depression and anxiety: The COVID-19 pandemic not only affects physical health, it can also affect mental health. To help people access authoritative information more easily, we're introducing depression and anxiety health information panels and self-assessments in YouTube Search. The panels and self-assessments are currently available in the US and we hope to make the panels available in more countries/regions soon.
  • [23:15 UTC 11 June 2020] Update to the COVID-19 health panel self-assessment: The self-assessment in the COVID-19 health panel now links to Google's self-assessment screener, which is based on CDC guidelines. The self-assessment screener gives users more info on what kind of support or medical care may be appropriate for them.
  • [17:38 UTC 20 MAY 2020] COVID-19 misinformation policy: YouTube has updated its Community Guidelines to include a page on COVID-19 misinformation, which can be found here.
  • [23:34 UTC 30 April 2020] COVID-19 health panel self-assessment: To help people make decisions about seeking appropriate medical care, we've launched a link to a COVID-19 self-assessment in our COVID-19 health panel in Search. We're starting by launching this in the US, partnering with the US Center For Disease Control, and will roll out to more countries soon.
  • [18:00 UTC 13 April 2020]  We're introducing a destination button on the Explore tab for content from creators participating in the #StayHome #WithMe campaign. This page will highlight some of our creators who have used video to help people learn, connect and entertain during this time.
  • [16:00 UTC April 1 2020] COVID-19 health panels: Starting today, we're launching additional health panels for COVID-19 that show in results for searches related to COVID-19. These panels include text-based health info from the WHO and NHS, and content like symptoms, prevention and treatment. During this time, we want to continue to prioritise local health sources, so you may see both an information panel with a link to a local health authority and the COVID-19 health panel.
  • [2 April 2020] Monetising COVID-19-related content: We've expanded monetisation of content mentioning or featuring COVID-19 to all creators and news organisations. As always, content must follow both advertiser-friendly guidelines and Community Guidelines
  • [17:00 UTC 16 March 2020] Protecting our extended workforce and community: We are taking the steps needed to prioritise the wellbeing of our employees and extended workforce, and the communities where they live, including reducing in-office staffing at certain sites. We will start relying more on technology to help do some of the work normally done by reviewers, which may result in some accidental removal of content that does not violate our policies. This may affect additional types of YouTube user and creator support and reviews, such as applications for the YouTube Partner Programme or responses on social media.

Coronavirus and YouTube: Answering Creator Questions

Further information on updates:

Monetisation

[2 April 2020] Monetising COVID-19-related content: We've expanded monetisation of content mentioning or featuring COVID-19 to all creators and news organisations. As always, content must follow both advertiser-friendly guidelines and Community Guidelines

Here are some guidelines for uploading COVID-19-related content:

  • Fact-check your work. Use reputable sources from organisations such as the World Health Organization (WHO), Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and National Health Service to inform your content. 
  • Be sensitive to the fact that this is an ongoing global crisis. We ask that if you choose to share COVID-19-related content, you do so with the best intentions in mind. Please do not leverage this event for the selling or promotion of products or services.
  • Follow both advertiser-friendly guidelines and Community Guidelines. All monetising content is subject to our ad-friendly guidelines and Community Guidelines. If your content violates these policies, it will be removed or receive limited or no ads. For specific examples of COVID-19-related content that isn't eligible for monetisation, take a look at this Help Centre article. 
If your content doesn't follow these guidelines, we may limit monetisation on your COVID-19-related content, or in rare cases, temporarily disable monetisation on your channel. Note: You may still see yellow icons on new uploads as these systems learn and are tuned to allow for broader monetisation of coronavirus content. Please appeal if you feel that your content is in line with our updated policies so that our teams can review and update accordingly.

[16:27 UTC 25 March 2020] Expect delays – Merch shelf item reviews​: 

  • If you are new to merch on YouTube, please note that you may not be able to enable the merch shelf and related features until our review capacity returns to normal.

  • If your merch shelf is already live, and you want to add new merchandise items or modify the name or description of existing ones, you may need to wait longer than usual for those items to be reviewed and approved for display on your channel.

[16:53 UTC 20 March 2020] Expect delays – YPP application reviews:  As we've already shared, we're taking the steps needed to prioritise the health of our extended workforce, including reducing in-office staffing at certain sites, to reduce the spread of COVID-19. As a result, it will likely take longer than one month for us to get back to you about your application to YPP. You can continue to check your application status here

We're working with our partner companies to enable our extended workforce to be online at home, where possible, by sending laptops around the world and ensuring that they're connected to the Internet. As we take the steps needed to support the health of our extended workforce, we'll strive to review as many videos and process as many applications as possible. We appreciate everyone's patience during this challenging time, and will keep the updates coming as this progresses.  
 

[19:00 UTC 18 Mar 2020] Channel memberships perk reviews: As we take steps to prioritise the wellbeing of our extended workforce, reviews of creators' perks for their channel memberships are likely to take much longer than usual. This means that:  
  • You may not be able to launch memberships until our review capacity returns to normal.
  • If you've already launched and want to change your perks, you may need to wait longer than usual for those changes to be approved.
For channels that need to change channel membership perks, you can communicate the changes to your audience through a video and/or a Community post. You can also create or update an intro video. All channel membership perks that you offer – whether or not they're included in the perks listed on your offer screen – are subject to membership policies and guidelines.
[16 March 2020] Monetising COVID-19-related content: We're expanding the monetisation of content mentioning or featuring COVID-19 to more creators and news organisations. If you're a creator, you'll receive a notification in YouTube Studio when this change has gone into effect for your channel.
Here are some guidelines for uploading COVID-19-related content:

We want to help you to provide your viewers with high-quality content on this topic, and following the guidelines above will help to ensure that you do so. 

If your content doesn't follow these guidelines, we may limit monetisation on your COVID-19-related content, or in rare cases, temporarily disable monetisation on your channel.
 

[16:00 UTC 11 March 2020] Updates to monetisation for coronavirus-related content: Currently, the coronavirus situation is considered a 'sensitive event'. Our sensitive events policy was designed to apply to short-term events of significant magnitude, like a natural disaster. Due to the ongoing nature of this situation, we'll begin enabling ads for content discussing the coronavirus on a limited number of channels. This will include creators who accurately self-certify and a range of news partners, with more channels to follow. We're preparing our policies and enforcement processes to expand monetisation to more creators and news organisations in the coming weeks.

 

Policy and copyright
[20 MAY 2020] COVID-19 misinformation policy: YouTube has updated its Community Guidelines to include a page on COVID-19 misinformation, which can be found here.

[17:00 UTC 16 March 2020] Protecting partners and our extended workforce: We have teams at YouTube, as well as partner companies, that help us support and protect the YouTube community – from people who respond to user and creator questions, to reviewers who evaluate videos for possible policy violations. We are taking the steps needed to prioritise the wellbeing of our employees and extended workforce, and the communities where they live, including reducing staffing at certain sites.

With this change, we will start relying more on technology to help do some of the work normally done by reviewers. This means automated systems will start removing some content without human review. As we do this, users and creators may see increased video removals, including removal of some videos that may not violate policies. We won't issue strikes on this content, except in cases where we are highly confident that it's violative.

As always, if you believe that your content was removed in error, you can submit an appeal, but do note that our workforce precautions may also result in delayed appeal reviews. 

The situation with coronavirus continues to change day by day, and we'll continue to take the steps needed to protect our teams and the communities where they live. This may affect additional types of YouTube user and creator support and reviews, such as applications for the YouTube Partner Programme or responses on social media. Thank you for your patience while we take the steps needed to protect our workforce. 

Creator support

[18:00 UTC 19 March 2020] I'm a YouTube creator, how can I help? Many creators have asked us how you can help with the evolving COVID-19 situation, and right now one of the best things that you can do to help yourself, your family and friends, and your community in the days ahead is to slow the rate of infection by staying at home as much as possible. 

As a YouTube creator, here's something that you can do now → Spread the word to stop the spread – #StayHome. 

If you choose to use YouTube to share content urging people to #StayHome, consider videos that are helpful, fun and informational and tag #StayHome and ___ #WithMe (e.g. #StayHome and cook #WithMe or #StayHome and learn #WithMe). For inspiration, take a look at our channel

We're also adding a destination page on the Explore tab for content from creators participating in the #StayHome and ___ #WithMe campaign. This page will highlight some of our creators who have used video to help people learn, connect and entertain during this time.


[16:00 UTC 17 March 2020] Longer-than-usual response times from support: As we take steps to prioritise the wellbeing of our extended workforce, expect longer-than-usual waiting times for responses to questions across all forms of support, including email, chat and social media.

Events and spaces
[22:35 UTC 18 February 2021] An update on YouTube Spaces: Since announcing a temporary closure of our physical YouTube Spaces early last year due to the pandemic, we've focused our partner programming and plans to reach more creators and artists through virtual events. To better meet the needs of our ever-growing community into the future, we're reimagining YouTube Spaces. Read the latest in our blog.
Paid-product support

[23:48 UTC 17 March 2020] Longer-than-usual response times from support: Due to the recent global health crisis related to COVID-19, we're operating with a limited team. See your options for connecting with a support specialist, or consult the Help Centre.

Viewer updates

[17:00 UTC 10 August 2020] Depression and anxiety information panels available in more countriesWe've partnered with authoritative sources such as the World Health Organization (WHO) to launch depression and anxiety health information panels in 27 more countries. For a list of these countries and the authoritative sources we've partnered with, see our Health Information Panels article. These information panels were first introduced in the US on 13 July 2020 to give users easy access to authoritative mental health info during the COVID-19 pandemic. Info such as symptoms and treatment options for depression and anxiety appear in the panels. This info can help users make informed decisions about whether to seek support or medical care. We hope to continue making the panels available in more countries/regions soon.

[16:30 UTC 13 July 2020] New health information panels for depression and anxiety: The COVID-19 pandemic not only affects physical health, it can also affect mental health. To help people access authoritative information more easily, we're introducing depression and anxiety health information panels in YouTube Search. We've partnered with the Mayo Clinic to launch the panels, which show information on symptoms and treatment options for depression and anxiety. In the US, the depression and anxiety health panels link to clinically validated Google self-assessments. The self-assessments give users more info on what kind of support or medical care may be appropriate for them. The panels and self-assessments are currently available in the US and we hope to make the panels available in more countries/regions soon.

[23:15 UTC 11 June 2020] Update to the COVID-19 health panel self-assessment: In April, we launched a COVID-19 self-assessment in our COVID-19 health panel in YouTube search. The COVID-19 self-assessment now links to Google's self-assessment screener, which is based on CDC guidelines. The self-assessment screener gives users more info on what kind of support or medical care may be appropriate for them. It is available in the US and we will roll it out to more countries soon.

[23:34 UTC 30 April 2020] COVID-19 health panel self-assessment: To help people make decisions about seeking appropriate medical care, we've launched a link to a COVID-19 self-assessment in our COVID-19 health panel in Search. We're starting by launching this in the US, partnering with the US Center For Disease Control, and will roll out to more countries soon. The COVID-19 health panel links out to the CDC's self-assessment screener on the CDC website, where users can answer questions to inform recommendations about what kind of medical care might be appropriate.

[16:00 UTC April 1 2020] COVID-19 health panels: Starting today, we're launching additional health panels for COVID-19 that show in results for searches related to COVID-19. These panels include text-based health info from the WHO and NHS, and content like symptoms, prevention and treatment. During this time, we want to continue to prioritise local health sources, so you may see both an information panel with a link to a local health authority and the COVID-19 health panel.

[13:30 UTC 24 March 2020] Update on adjusted bandwidth usage: Last week, we temporarily defaulted all videos on YouTube to standard definition in the  European Union (EU), United Kingdom (UK) and Switzerland (CH). Given the global nature of this crisis, we are expanding that change globally starting today. This update is slowly rolling out. You can manually adjust the video quality of any video that you're watching on a computer, TV or mobile device. We will continue working with member-state governments and network operators to minimise stress on the system, while also delivering a good user experience.

[21:16 UTC 20 March 2020] Adjusted bandwidth usage: As the COVID-19 situation continues to evolve, more people come to YouTube to find authoritative news and learning content, and to make connections. We have measures in place to automatically adjust our system to use less network capacity. We're temporarily defaulting all videos to standard definition for traffic in the European Union (EU), United Kingdom (UK) and Switzerland (CH). You can manually adjust the video quality of any video that you're watching on a computer, TV or mobile device. We will continue working with member-state governments and network operators to minimise stress on the system, while also delivering a good user experience.

[21:35 UTC 19 March 2020] COVID-19 news shelf: A COVID-19 news shelf may now be shown on the YouTube homepage. The shelf includes news videos about COVID-19 from authoritative news publishers and local health authorities on our platform. The content in this shelf is populated algorithmically, using hundreds of signals, including relevance to COVID-19, how up to date it is and region. You may not see the COVID-19 news shelf if a 'Breaking News' or 'Top News' shelf is already showing. You can always dismiss the COVID-19 news shelf on the homepage.

[16:00 UTC 17 March 2020] Longer-than-usual response times from support: As we take steps to prioritise the wellbeing of our extended workforce, expect longer-than-usual waiting times for responses to questions across all forms of support, including email, chat and social media.

[16:00 UTC March 11 2020] Info panels: Starting in February, we launched info panels that drive users to the World Health Organization or to local resources that reflect local government guidelines. The panel will be visible on the YouTube homepage, in Search for queries related to coronavirus and on the watch page for videos related to coronavirus. We'll donate ad inventory to governments and NGOs in impacted regions to use for education and information.

Community and comments

[20:20 UTC 20 March 2020] Community posts: Due to the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) on our workforce, Community posts are temporarily unavailable on some channels. This will not result in any new Community Guidelines strikes or penalties on your account.

Some Community posts flagged by users or our automated systems may not be available on the homepage or in Recommendations while we wait for our reviewers to take a closer look. As a result, these posts may receive less engagement than usual.

Frequently asked questions

Where should I go if I want more information about coronavirus (COVID-19)?

The World Health Organization website has information and guidance regarding the coronavirus outbreak. We've also provided additional locally relevant sources below:

Country/region Source
Australia Australia Government Department of Health
Belgium Federal Public Service (FPS) Health, Food Chain Safety and Environment
Brazil Ministério da Saúde
Canada Public Health Agency of Canada
France Gouvernement.fr
Germany Federal Centre for Health Education
Hong Kong Centre for Health Protection
Israel Ministry of Health
India Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Govt. of India
Indonesia Indonesia Ministry of Health
Italy Ministry of Health
Ireland Department of Health
Japan Japan Cabinet Secretariat
Malaysia Malaysian Ministry of Health
Netherlands Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport
Norway Health Norway
Singapore Ministry of Health
South Korea Korean Ministry of Health and Welfare
Spain Ministry of Health
Sweden Public Health Agency of Sweden
Switzerland Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH)
Taiwan Taiwan CDC
Thailand Thailand Ministry of Public Health
Vietnam Vietnamese Ministry of Health
UK National Health Service
US Center for Disease Control
How will YouTube continue to keep me informed about additional changes that are made regarding coronavirus (COVID-19)?
The coronavirus situation is evolving every day and we're committed to providing you with updates, including any changes that may impact our processes and support systems. 

To stay informed on how you may be impacted by these changes, please continue to check this article. We'll update it on a regular basis.
How is YouTube fighting misinformation around coronavirus (COVID-19)?
We're committed to providing timely and helpful information at this critical time. This includes raising authoritative sources up in search and recommendations, and showing information panels linking to locally relevant sources such as WHO on relevant videos. We will also continue to quickly remove videos that violate our policies when they are flagged, including those that discourage people from seeking medical treatment or claim that harmful substances have health benefits. Finding trustworthy content is especially critical as news is breaking, and we'll continue to make sure that YouTube delivers accurate information for our users.
I'm a YouTube creator. How can I help?

Many creators have asked us how you can help with the evolving COVID-19 situation. Right now, one of the best things that you can do to help yourself, your family and friends, and your community in the days ahead is to slow the rate of infection by staying at home as much as possible. This is that 'social distancing' and 'flattening the curve' that you keep hearing about (read more here).

Of course, there are individuals, including healthcare and government workers (some of whom are creators themselves), who are critical to maintaining support systems across our communities. They still need to leave their homes to travel to and from work, and we thank them for all that they're doing during this time.

For the rest of us, it is individual actions that can help protect the most vulnerable people among us. Authoritative health and safety organisations are urging people to stay at home when possible, so we can create a safer environment for those who are at the greatest risk from the virus.

So, seriously, please stay at home.

Here's where you can help → Spread the word to stop the spread – #StayHome

If you choose to use YouTube to spread the word about staying at home, here are some quick tips on posting your content:

  • #StayHome and ___ #WithMe ideas. Consider content that is helpful, fun and informational, and tag #StayHome and ____ #WithMe to join others doing the same, e.g. #StayHome and cook #WithMe or #StayHome and learn #WithMe. For inspiration from creators just like you, take a look at our channel
  • Fact check your work. Use reputable sources from organisations such as the World Health Organization (WHO), Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and National Health Service to inform your content. 
  • Be sensitive to the fact that this is an ongoing global crisis. We ask that if you choose to share COVID-19-related content, you do so with the best intentions in mind. Please do not leverage this event for the selling or promotion of products or services.
  • For monetisation, we are still rolling out our updated policies to allow monetisation of this content, so avoid including 'COVID-19' or 'coronavirus' explicitly in your title or description; consider titles like 'Keep your grandma safe – stay at home!' or 'How to stay active at home' 
  • Follow both advertiser-friendly guidelines and Community Guidelines. All monetising content is subject to our ad-friendly guidelines and Community Guidelines. If your content violates these policies, it will be removed or receive limited or no ads. For example, content that claims that harmful substances or treatments can have health benefits, or content that violates our violent or graphic content policies, is considered violative and will be removed.
How do I report misinformation around coronavirus (COVID-19)?
Our Community Guidelines include policies that prohibit content that claims that harmful substances or treatments can have health benefits. 

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.
Why is my content being demonetised? It's not about coronavirus (COVID-19).
If you're monetising on YouTube, it's important that your channel follows YouTube monetisation policies, which include YouTube's Community Guidelines, Terms of Service, Copyright and Google AdSense programme policies. Learn more about why we enforce channel monetisation policies. If you want to monetise videos with ads, they must also meet our advertiser-friendly content guidelines.

Our policies apply to all portions of your content (video or live stream, thumbnail, title, description and tags). 

Our systems don't always get it right, but you can request human review of decisions made by our automated systems.

How can I avoid COVID-19 scams online?

We want to keep you safe whenever you're online. That's why everything we make is protected with powerful built-in security technologies that help detect and block threats before they ever reach you. For more information on common types of scams and how to avoid them, have a look at our Google Safety Centre.
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