YouTube has been an incredibly popular platform for creators to share videos and build an audience since its launch in 2005. Over the years, the platform has implemented various policies and guidelines to balance creative freedom and content moderation.
One such policy that has caused frustration for some creators is the issuing of community guideline strikes.
However, YouTube recently announced a new update allowing creators to appeal and potentially remove certain strikes from their channels. This change will provide more flexibility and opportunities for creators in 2023.
An Overview of YouTube’s Community Guidelines Strike System
YouTube’s community guidelines are designed to ensure content on the platform is appropriate and compliant with their policies.
When a video or channel is found to violate these guidelines, YouTube can issue a strike against the channel.
Before this new update, receiving three strikes within 90 days would result in the termination of a YouTube channel. Strikes expired after 90 days but remained visible on the channel page.
The types of violations that could lead to strikes include but are not limited to:
- Spam, deceptive practices, and scams
- Nudity or sexual content
- Harmful or dangerous content
- Violent or graphic content
- Hate speech
- Harassment and cyberbullying
This strike system was intended to deter creators and allow them to correct their behavior before potentially losing their channel for repeated violations.
However, many creators expressed concerns that strikes could sometimes be issued unfairly or inaccurately. This made the threat of losing one’s channel anxiety-inducing for creators, especially those focused on edgy or controversial content.
Changes Coming in 2023
Further, YouTube introduced new measures to help creators avoid receiving strikes for unintentional violations of community guidelines. Over 80% of creators who receive a warning never violate policies again, showing educational efforts successfully reduce unintended infractions.
Starting today, creators can take an educational training course when they get a warning. Completing the system will remove the warning as long as they don’t violate the same policy again in 90 days.
This update provides more resources to help creators understand YouTube’s policies and avoid inadvertently crossing lines. By allowing creators to learn from mistakes before facing penalties, YouTube aims to empower creators while enforcing guidelines to keep the platform safe.
Which Strikes Can Now Be Appealed?
In follow-up communications, YouTube has clarified that not all strikes will be appealable. According to the platform, strikes issued for severe or egregious violations will not be eligible for appeal. These include:
- Spam, deceptive practices, and scams
- Child safety violations
- Copyright violations
Instead, the update focuses on strikes issued for minor or accidental violations of policies around nudity, harmful content, violent content, and harassment. Creators can now submit an appeal request for review via the YouTube Studio dashboard or by following the link provided in the strike notification email.
YouTube also noted that an appeal is not guaranteed to result in the strike being removed. The appeal will undergo human review, and the team will determine if removal is merited based on the context provided by the creator. So, this update does not constitute a free pass for any violations. But it does provide creators a second chance in situations of honest mistakes or minor infractions.
Positive Impacts on the Creator Community
This policy change has been met with enthusiasm and positivity from many in the YouTube creator community. Here are some of the key benefits that this update provides:
1. Reduced Risk of Losing One’s Channel
As mentioned, receiving three strikes in 90 days would lead to channel termination before this update. Even a single mistake could put a creator’s channel at risk if they were to make another two errors within a few months. Now, creators can learn from mistakes, adapt to YouTube’s policies, and continue building their audience without severe consequences for minor issues.
2. Less Anxiety and Uncertainty
The threat of losing one’s channel understandably caused distress for creators who worked hard to build an audience on YouTube. This manifested as anxiety about accidentally running afoul of YouTube’s complex policies. Being able to appeal strikes provides more reassurance that a single mistake will not end one’s career as a creator.
3. Encourages Experimentation
YouTube is positioning this update as empowering creators to take risks and experiment with their content. Sometimes, creators can push boundaries without realizing they have crossed a line until a violation occurs. The ability to appeal strikes enables creators to learn where those boundaries lie without immediately facing severe penalties. This facilitates an environment of creative experimentation.
4. More Dialogue Between YouTube and Creators
This update enables more back-and-forth conversation between creators and the platform by allowing creators to provide context in appeals.
This gives creators a voice in the process. Some creators believe past strikes were issued incorrectly or that context justified their content.
The appeals process allows creators to make their case directly to YouTube moderators. This facilitates a greater partnership between the two parties.
YouTube’s strike appeal update closes 2022 on a high note by providing creators more flexibility and reducing the punitive feeling of the Community Guidelines strike system.
While only going into effect in 2023, this policy change was met with enthusiasm from creators who have long requested YouTube to reassess their approach to strikes and account terminations. It is one of several updates YouTube has announced in recent months to empower creators through controversial times on the platform.
It will be interesting to observe how this policy plays out once implemented. How frequently will strike YouTube grant appeals? Will any creators try to exploit the update by repeatedly uploading violative content? How will YouTube balance enabling creative freedom via this update while maintaining content moderation?
The effectiveness of this policy change will become clearer through its impact on creators and the YouTube ecosystem in 2023 and beyond. But it signals a productive step towards a less punitive and more open platform for now.