YouTube announced in a recent blog post that they’ve made some changes to the way they’re handling strikes in relation to their Community Guidelines. Below we’ve reviewed these guidelines, as well as some of the broader policies that YouTube enforces on the platform and how you can ensure your content makes the cut!
What are YouTube’s Community Guidelines?
Think of YouTube as a virtual world where many different people live and work. YouTube has written up a set of rules so that creators and viewers can feel safe and comfortable in their world, doing what they love – creating and watching awesome videos! The Community Guidelines are in place to ensure that anyone on the platform who tries to threaten the safety of the community faces the appropriate penalties. Examples of content that may result in Community Guidelines strikes include: harmful or dangerous content, violent content, hateful content, nudity, harassment and bullying, spam, misleading metadata or thumbnails, and more. You can find more information in YouTube’s Help Center here.
What changes has YouTube made?
YouTube’s changes to their Community Guidelines strike policies are centered around creating more transparency on the platform for creators, with the intention of providing clear rules and fair penalties to increase understanding and accountability. YouTube has said that most strikes result from video uploads, but what you may not know is that their Community Guidelines cover all content on YouTube, including Stories, custom thumbnails, links to websites included in the video description, and more.
Previously, strikes incurred on the site would result in different penalties depending on how or where on the platform the strike was received. Based on user feedback, YouTube has changed this so that the penalty for violating their Community Guidelines will be the same no matter where on the platform the violation occurs:
- The first time a user’s content is flagged for violating the Community Guidelines, they will receive a warning and the content will be removed. This is meant to be an opportunity for first-time offenders to learn about YouTube’s Community Guidelines, and prevent strikes moving forward.
- The next time the same user’s content is flagged, they will receive their 1st strike, which will result in a one-week freeze on the ability to upload any new content, including live streaming, Stories, and other channel activities.
- The 2nd strike received within a 90-day period will result in a two-week freeze on the ability to upload any new content to YouTube.
- The 3rd strike received within a 90-day period will result in the channel being terminated.
How do I know if I received a strike, and how can I resolve it?
You will see the strike in your Creator Studio, but another change YouTube has made is to make it clear to the user why they received a strike, what it means for their account standing with YouTube, and what the next steps are. YouTube is providing more details in their email and desktop notifications, including the exact policy that was violated, which previously was not included. They’ve also added notifications on mobile & in-platform to ensure creators can quickly access this information.
Strikes expire after 90 days, but if you believe the strike you received is invalid and that you acted within YouTube’s Community Guidelines, you can appeal their decision by following the instructions here.
How do I prevent my channel from receiving strikes moving forward?
The simplest way is to carefully review the content you’re posting on your channels against YouTube’s guidelines before you post it. If you’re unsure whether something you’re thinking about posting will cross the line, err on the side of caution and don’t post it. As noted above, YouTube is not only looking at your uploads, so be sure that anything you’ve posted on the platform is appropriate, whether it’s a live stream, Story, comment, or custom thumbnail.
I’ve heard about copyright strikes. Are Community Guidelines strikes the same?
No. Copyright strikes and Community Guidelines strikes differ in that copyright strikes are issued by rightsholders who believe a creator has posted content that violates their copyright, i.e. the creator may not own the content they’ve posted. Community Guidelines strikes are a result of YouTube and the YouTube community flagging content for being inappropriate or for violating the Community Guidelines. To prevent copyright strikes, ensure you’re only uploading content for which you own or have acquired exclusive rights. Remember that music, images, and video footage are all copyrightable. If you didn’t create the content, it’s likely copyrighted and at risk to receive a copyright strike. Also, like Community Guidelines strikes, receiving 3 or more copyright strikes may result in your channel being terminated, so it’s especially important to make sure you’re only uploading content for which you have the rights to upload.