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Clearing up some policy myths

By Amanda Conway

YouTube Policy Associate

There seem to be more rumors circulating lately about YouTube’s content policies than there are about Jennifer’s baby bump, so we’d like to clarify a few misconceptions.

Myth #1: YouTube pre-screens the videos that you upload.

Truth: 48 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute. It’s not possible to proactively review this much content. Believe us. And even if it were, it would be far less effective than deploying all of you—our global community—to help us identify videos that potentially violate our Community Guidelines. You all have really stepped up to the task, flagging thousands upon thousands of videos every day. After you flag videos, YouTube staff review them against our Community Guidelines. If they violate our Guidelines, they come down. If they don’t, they stay up, sometimes with an age-restriction.

Myth #2: If I repeatedly flag a video, it will come down.

Truth: No matter how many times you flag Baby, it will not come down. It’s been flagged. We’ve reviewed it. And it does not violate our Community Guidelines. If you’ve considered spearheading a flagging campaign to bring down a video you don’t like, save yourself the time. Videos that don’t violate our Guidelines simply won’t be taken off the site for policy reasons.

Myth #3: If I flag a video, the uploader will know who I am.

Truth: We do not reveal any of your personal information when you flag content for a Community Guidelines violation.

Myth #4: If I inaccurately report content that I genuinely believe violates YouTube’s policies, my account will be terminated.

Truth: People who flag in good faith will not be penalized for inaccurately reporting content. That said, if you’re looking to improve your flagging skills, take a minute to review our Community Guidelines.

Myth #5: If my video is removed for a Community Guidelines violation, that’s the end of the story.

Truth: We have a video appeals process that allows users to appeal a video strike if they disagree with our team’s decision. Our reviewers are human too. We review a lot of content, and we occasionally make mistakes. We aim to keep these mistakes to a minimum and try to fix any errors we may have made.

Myth #6: If someone puts an embarrassing or otherwise sensitive video of me on YouTube, it will remain on the site forever.

Truth: Whether you’re singing karaoke or riding the mechanical bull at a bar, we all do things we’d rather not have broadcasted to the world. If a video contains your image or other personal information and you didn’t consent to it, you can submit a privacy removal request.

Myth #7: YouTube censors art.

Truth: We support free expression and want YouTube to be a place where artists can showcase their work, even if that work contains some skin. We don’t typically allow nudity that’s sexual in nature. If your video contains nudity and you clearly explain the artistic, educational, or scientific context, it may stay up with an age-restriction. What do we mean by context?

Myth #8: It’s a good idea to include tags like ‘Lady Gaga’ and ‘Double Rainbow’ in my video title and description even if they’re unrelated to my video.

Truth: Tags are meant to help users find relevant videos. It’s not cool to use unrelated tags to try to trick people into watching your video. Select tags that accurately describe your video. If you do take the low road, your video will likely be struck for misleading metadata.

Myth #9: We [YouTube’s Policy Team] are robots.

Truth: We are in fact real people equipped with brains, hearts and strong moral compasses. As cheesy as it may sound, we don’t just do this job because we get paid to watch videos all day; we do it because we care about YouTube and want you to have a positive experience on our site.