5 Common YouTube Policy Myths Debunked

There are a lot of things that people believe about YouTube that are just plain untrue—from flawed tips on how to get more views to the way that the video site deals with flagged videos, and more. After the jump we debunk 5 of the most common YouTube Policy myths.

There are a lot of things that people believe about YouTube that are just plain untrue—from flawed tips on how to get more views to the way that the video site deals with flagged videos, and more.  Amanda Conway, a Policy Associate at YouTube, recently debunked some of these myths on the YouTube blog.  Here we take a look at five of the most common policy myths that Amanda cleared up.

Including popular tags will help me get views, even if they are unrelated to my video.

This is a big one.  A lot of people think that by including popular tags on their videos is a great way to get more views.  Therefore, they’ll put big popular tags like Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, Nyan Cat, and more on their videos, even if their content has absolutely nothing to do with Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber or Nyan Cat.  Thinking that this is a good strategy couldn’t be further from the truth.

If anything, misleading viewers is just unfair.  Imagine that you wanted to find a video of Lady Gaga and you performed a search and were bombarded by videos about fish, President Obama, vacuum cleaners, someone’s shoe collection—everything except videos about Lady Gaga—all because these people used ‘Lady Gaga’ as a tag.  It’s annoying and, lets face it, if you do this you’ll be drawing annoyed, negative attention to your video.  Not popularity.

It should also be noted that YouTube penalizes people who do this.  Amanda Conway writes, “If you do take the low road, your video will likely be struck for misleading metadata.”  To get more views fairly, check out our post on How To Skyrocket Your Views With YouTube Metadata.

YouTube prescreens videos that are uploaded to the site to make sure they don’t violate the TOS.

YouTube doesn’t prescreen all the videos you upload to the site.  With over 48 hours of video uploaded every minute that would be impossible.  However, that doesn’t mean that you can upload anything you please.  YouTube has turned to their community to identify which videos potentially violate their Community Guidelines.  If a viewer flags a video that they think violates the TOS and Community Guidelines then YouTube staff will take a look and, if it is a violation, they’ll take the video down.

It should be noted that YouTube also has a system called Content ID that detects when you upload copyrighted stuff.  Although nobody is physically watching your video, Content ID “screens” videos to make sure you aren’t using copyrighted music or footage.  If you are, they may remove your soundtrack or take your video down due to a copyright claim.

If you flag a video repeatedly it will be taken down.

Many people believe that if you flag a video repeatedly then YouTube will eventually have to take it down.  In truth, the first time a video is flagged YouTube checks it out.  If it is found to contain violations it is taken down.  If not, it is marked as reviewed and future flaggings will have no impact.

Of course, there have been a few snafus.  Earlier this year Lady Gaga’s YouTube account was accidentally terminated and Justin Bieber and Rihanna also had videos temporarily removed from the site due to fake copyright claims.  However, these incidents are rare and were quickly corrected.

Amanda also clarified a few other points on video flagging.  If you flag a video the uploader will NOT know who you are and if you inaccurately report content your account will NOT be terminated.  That being said, if you go on a flagging rampage that is clearly a trolling attack you may face the consequences.  You may want to check out YouTube’s Community Guidelines before you start flagging.

YouTube censors art.

Sometimes certain things are present in art that may be a violation of Community Guidelines in other situations—for example, nudity.  Amanda writes, “We support free expression and want YouTube to be a place where artists can showcase their work, even if the 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.”

Find out more about context here so that you can prevent a takedown if you upload artistic content to YouTube that could potentially be seen as a violation of Community Guidelines.

YouTube’s Policy Team is made up of robots.

Finally, while systems like Content ID may cause people to believe that YouTube’s policy team is made up completely of robots, there are actually real live people that look into Community Guidelines disputes.  Amanda writes, “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  positive experience on our site.”

Click here to find out more about common YouTube policy myths and the truth behind them on the YouTube blog.

Megan O’Neill is the resident web video enthusiast here at Social Times.  Megan covers everything from the latest viral videos to online video news and tips, and has a passion for bizarre, original and revolutionary content and ideas.