YouTube changes its strikes system, offers softer first-offense penalty

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YouTube creators are well aware of what can happen if their content violates the video-sharing website’s guidelines. But it hasn’t always been clear what really counts as a violation.

YouTube hopes to clarify that and other aspects of its strikes system policy with new updates to that system.

Via a blog post published Tuesday, February 19, YouTube announced a series of new updates to its strikes system, which are expected to be in effect starting on February 25.

The updates include improvements to violation-related notifications, more consistent consequences for violations, and an expansion of policy resources to better educate content creators on how to avoid getting a strike in the first place.

The biggest change to hit the strike system, however, is the inclusion of a “warning” creators will now receive upon the first offense instead of a harsher first strike.

Once a creator’s content violates YouTube’s guidelines the first time, the creator will be issued a warning. The consequence that comes with getting a warning is just the removal of the offending content. No other penalties are assessed. After that, further violations will be addressed with the strikes system.

First strikes will involve a one-week freeze in which the creator won’t be able to upload new content. Second strikes will result in two-week content publishing freezes. And if content creators make it to a third strike, their channels will be terminated. These penalties will be enforced no matter the type of offense.

It is worth noting, however, while warnings come with a less severe consequence, they cannot be “reset” after 90 days, as a strike can.

In addition to issuing warnings, YouTube will also send email and desktop notifications with “more details on which policy was violated” in an effort to better inform creators about the strikes, the consequences, “and the next steps that are available.” Similar notifications are also expected to be available in-product and on mobile platforms as well.

A softer first-offense penalty, better notifications, and more consistent consequences across the board may help clarify YouTubes guidelines and expectations, but as Engadget notes, the changes may do little to quell complaints of perceived content moderation-related biases YouTube is accused of having.

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