YouTube prides itself on creating a safe and welcoming digital content platform for users of all backgrounds, and part of that is including an easy to use reporting system.
Whether you've come across content that violates YouTube's community guidelines, includes your image without your consent, or violates a copyright, YouTube has your back.
Today we'll take a deep dive into YouTube's content policies, the reporting process, and what to do if your own content has been wrongfully taken down.
YouTube's Community Guidelines are set to ensure that users create and upload content responsibly, in the hopes that YouTube remains a safe, respectful, and community-driven platform.
There are a few elements to YouTube's content policy, but generally any video uploaded to the platform must respect copyright laws, child safety laws, and avoid promoting harmful behavior and hate speech.
Let's take a detailed look at each one below.
YouTube is known for its strictly enforced copyright policies, especially when it comes to audio.
Uploading copyrighted content of any medium without explicit permission could result in copyright strikes against your account, and even legal repercussions depending on the severity of the violation.
How does YouTube enforce copyright violations?
YouTube uses a Content ID system, an automated system that scans uploaded videos against a database of files to detect copyrighted content. This allows copyright owners to block, monetize, and track videos linked to their content.
If the Content ID system overlooks a violation, the copyright holder can submit a manual claim along with evidence of the infringement.
YouTube prohibits harmful or dangerous content. This includes videos that depict or involve the harassment or threatening of another individual, as well as content that promotes harmful or illegal activities.
Examples of this include:
Dangerous challenges or pranks
Instructional theft, cheating, hacking
Instructions to kill or harm
Hard drug use or creation
Users are encouraged to report content that violates this policy in order to ensure user safety and maintain YouTube's integrity as a platform.
You can learn more about what constitutes harmful or dangerous content on the YouTube page here.
In recent years, YouTube has cracked down on misinformation and manipulated media. To reduce the spread of fake news and dangerous misinformation, YouTube downranks, labels, and will even remove videos that spread misinformation.
Most recently, YouTube has announced the removal of misleading medical content regarding COVID-19 and cancer treatments, among other topics.
YouTube defines hate speech as content promoting violence against or directly attacking or demeaning a group based on race, ethnicity, nationality, and other protected attributes.
Harassment, on the other hand, can include sustained negative comments, doxxing, or threats.
Public figures, like celebrities, have fewer privacy expectations than private individuals. However, malicious content targeting anyone is not tolerated.
If someone has shared personal information without consent, it can be reported as a privacy violation.
Image or voice
Other personally identifiable information
Users who believe their privacy has been violated are encouraged to first contact the uploader to resolve the matter before reporting the video.
YouTube prioritizes child safety, both in regards to viewers and participants within content.
Content that endangers or exploits minors is prohibited. Along with this, content that is intended for children must be marked as such. For Kids content will have comments disabled, to prevent children from being exposed to negative content from older users.
If you come across a YouTube video that violates YouTube's terms of service or infringes on a copyright, you can report it using the flagging system.
Beneath the video, click the three horizontal dots, then the flag icon. This will lead you to the Report This Video section.
Choose the exact issue that applies to this content using the drop-down menu. If there's a specific moment within the video that is of note for your claim, mention the timestamp. Include as much detail as possible about the problematic content in the field (if provided).
Submit your report.
Once submitted, a YouTube team member will evaluate the reported video and the uploader's channel. This typically takes 24 hours, but that can vary.
If YouTube finds that your report was valid they will take the appropriate action which could include removing the video and/or imposing penalties or channel strikes on the video uploader. Again, this can vary depending on the nature of the report and its severity, as well as if the uploader is a repeat offender.
Sometimes mistakes happen! If your video was taken down due to a misunderstanding or by mistake (for example, if you do in fact have the rights to copyrighted content), you can file an appeal with YouTube.
First, open your YouTube Studio page.
Click Content in the left side menu.
If a video has a copyright strike on it, you will see it listed under the Restrictions column.
Click on the restriction then See Details to open the content page.
From here you can access the appeal form by clicking the three stacked dots and selecting Dispute.
Fill out the appeal form for either copyright violations or community guidelines strikes by following the on-screen prompts.
Once you've submitted your appeal, YouTube will review it. This could take anywhere from several days to a few weeks, depending on the nature of the restriction and the complexity of the issue.
Once YouTube has made a decision either way, you'll receive an email with an update.
Possible Appeal Outcomes
Appeal is Accepted: If YouTube determines that the video takedown was in error, they will reinstate your video.
Appeal is Denied: If YouTube upholds the takedown decision, your video will remain offline. Be aware that if you receive multiple strikes, your account may be at risk of termination.
Always ensure you fully understand YouTube's guidelines and terms of service before uploading content. If you're frequently using third-party content, it might be helpful to familiarize yourself with copyright laws and consider seeking legal counsel if you're unsure about your rights.
Notes About Restricted Content
If your video content was restricted, it will be automatically made private or unlisted. Deleted videos can result from severe content policy violations. If you wish to watch deleted Youtube videos you will have to refer to the original content saved to your device.