YouTube Community Guidelines: Your 5 Minute Cheat Sheet

Avatar photo
Carla Marshall
March 9, 2022
youtube community guidelines

YouTube allows anyone to create their channel for free. Anyone can become a video creator and publish content for the world to see. There is no barrier to viewing content on the platform either. This has been the deal since 2005. 

Given that creators have the freedom to create all kinds of content, YouTube has stringent guidelines to ensure that content isn’t offensive, incendiary, or problematic. The policies affect every creator – even you.

YouTube Community Guidelines: What Creators Need to Know

Should you be worried about violating YouTube’s Community Guidelines? YES! 

Repeated rule breaking has serious consequences, including the loss of your channel. That’s the last thing you want, especially if it’s generating any kind of revenue for you. YouTube will come down on you like a ton of bricks if you publish content that is:

  • Abusive, or incites hate or harassment
  • Sexually explicit or pornographic
  • Spammy or criminal
  • Likely to misinform 

You can read the complete list of Community Guidelines here. YouTube makes it very clear what it considers a violation. As a creator, you should take the time to read them, so you stay on the right side of the platform. Note that the guidelines don’t just apply to videos on demand but also titles, custom thumbnails, live streams, playlists, and comments.

Another thing to note is that YouTube can still issue a strike against any content you delete, so please bear that in mind.

Three Strikes and You’re Out

YouTube can be an exciting but confusing place for a creator when they are starting. The platform understands this and works with the creator to address any violations that have been flagged.

YouTube will remove the offending content and send the creator a warning, but they usually won’t face another penalty. However, please take this warning seriously. Failure to do so will lead to your first Community strike!

Note: if YouTube finds the content too offensive, it may lead to the channel’s termination without warning.

First Strike

If YouTube finds that your content is not complying with its policies for a second time, you will receive your first strike. This strike means that you will be barred from doing the following for seven days: 

  • Uploading videos, live streams, or Stories
  • Creating custom thumbnails
  • Creating any Community posts
  • Show a trailer during your Premieres
  • Send viewers from a live stream to a Premiere
  • Send viewers from a Premiere to a live stream
  • Creating or editing Playlists

Full privileges will automatically be restored after a week, but your strike will remain on your channel for 90 days.

Second Strike

If you get a second strike within the same 90-day period as your first strike, you will not be allowed to post content for two weeks. If there are no further issues, your channel will be back to normal within two weeks. Please be aware that the strike will not expire until 90 days from the time it was issued.

Third Strike

Now it becomes really serious. Three Community Guideline strikes in the same 90-day period is an automatic channel ban from YouTube. Your channel and all your videos will be permanently removed from YouTube. 

New Guidelines from YouTube on Each Violation

YouTube has recently updated its guidelines process and now provides detailed information about what caused each violation. It will also confirm to the creator any possible repercussions on the visibility and monetization of the content in question. 
Please check out this recent video from YouTube, which guides you through the new review process.

Stay on the Right Side of the Rules

It can be frustrating to publish content that violates YouTube’s guidelines, especially when it wasn’t your intention. While there is a robust review process in place, having a thorough understanding of what constitutes a violation of any of the guidelines will save you much grief down the road.

Carla Marshall Author

Carla Marshall

Carla Marshall is the Content Marketing Manager at TubeBuddy. She has 10+ years of experience in video marketing, social media management, content marketing, DRM, & SEO