Was one of your recent YouTube videos challenged? Violations of YouTube’s Community Guidelines often result in the flagging and reviewing of the video in question. In some cases, this can lead to more problems down the road, including the potential to lose your entire account altogether.
If you have a YouTube channel, it’s essential to familiarize yourself with the platform’s Community Guidelines. Knowing what is and isn’t acceptable ahead of time can save your YouTube videos from being challenged and taken down. In this guide, NetInfluencer explores YouTube’s Community Guidelines and provides tips on how to avoid violations.
YouTube’s Community Guidelines
According to YouTube, the platform’s Community Guidelines are the rules for how to behave. They are in place to protect viewers from harmful or offensive content. Even if you have a private account, the restrictions still apply.
If your content has been challenged or flagged by YouTube, your channel will receive a strike. Let’s look at how the strike system works.
YouTube’s three-strike system aims to safeguard the platform from irresponsible content creators and harmful content. Users are notified via email when they receive a strike, why YouTube issued it, and any violated policies. Before a first strike is issued, the platform will typically issue a warning as a preliminary measure. A first strike is a next step if violations still occur after the warning.
Under the first strike, your public content becomes private throughout the freeze period. The freeze period for a first strike is one week, but the strike will stay on your account for up to 90 days. There are also restrictions on specific activities, including uploading videos and starting live streams.
If YouTube administers a second strike within the 90-day window of when they issued the first strike, your account is subject to a two-week restriction period. A third strike within the 90-day window of the first strike results in the permanent removal of your YouTube channel. Keep in mind that each strike expires after 90 days.
It is also worth noting that the deletion of the challenged or flagged content does not remove a strike. If you have an Official Artist YouTube channel, receiving a strike converts your channel back to a standard account.
YouTube takes copyright violations seriously and provides several copyright management tools to creators who share on the platform. It could violate YouTube’s policies if an uploaded video contains another creator’s original content or copyrighted music or clips.
Users can report copyright infringement or violations through YouTube’s DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) web form. Once a form is submitted, YouTube automatically removes the video in question and issues a copyright strike to the account owner. The same strike rules described above apply to copyright strikes as well.
YouTube’s Community Guidelines prohibit videos that encourage illegal or dangerous activity. The platform lists the following descriptions as harmful content:
- Hazardous or threatening pranks that could lead to injury or cause emotional harm
- Dangerous challenges that pose a threat of injury or death
- Instructions to harm or kill
- Illegal drug use or creation
- Instructions to cheat, steal, or hack
- Content that glorifies or praises eating disorders
- Instructions for bypassing payment for digital products and services
- Dangerous or inappropriate content involving minors
If a video contains elements from the above list but is instructional, it may not violate YouTube’s Community Guidelines. For example, if your video is a documentary on eating disorders, you may include content as long as it is within an educational context.
How To Appeal if YouTube Challenged Your Video
If you believe your YouTube video received a wrongful challenge or a strike in error, you can appeal the decision. First, head to the Studio portion of your account to start the appeal process for a strike. In the Channel Violations section, click on the Appeal link.
If your video was removed without an issued strike, follow these instructions:
- Log in to YouTube Studio
- Select content from the left-hand menu
- Select the video you wish to appeal
- From the Restrictions column, hover over the restriction type and click Appeal
- Enter your reason for appealing, then click Submit
After you complete your appeal request, you’ll receive an email confirmation. If, after a review, YouTube determines you were not in violation of the Community Guidelines, they will reinstate your removed video and reverse any strikes you received. If your content is only appropriate for viewers over 18, you may receive an age restriction.
If your Appeal is denied and you violate YouTube’s Community Guidelines, your video will remain removed, and any accrued strikes will stay on your account. There is no penalty for rejected appeals.
How To Avoid Violating YouTube’s Community Guidelines
Receiving a strike or YouTube removing a video from your account can negatively impact your channel or lead to its termination. To avoid violating YouTube’s Community Guidelines, follow these best practices:
- Only post original content. Use royalty-free music and images to steer clear of copyright infringement.
- Familiarize yourself with YouTube’s definition of harmful content. Avoid posting anything that could fall under their outlined categories.
- If you are using footage of another person, make sure you have their permission before posting your video.
- Have a friend or family member review any content you’re unsure of before uploading it to your YouTube channel. A second set of eyes may catch something you’ve overlooked.
- If you believe YouTube shouldn’t have removed your video or you receive a strike in error, file a formal appeal with the platform as soon as possible.
Having one of your videos removed can cause stress and anxiety, especially when you’ve spent time and effort on content creation. Taking these precautionary measures ensures your YouTube channel stays in good standing. Read more about YouTube’s Community Guidelines and policies here.