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Creators make sense of YouTube’s murky profanity rules

Good news — ‘gosh darnit’ and ‘heck’ are safe

Petrana Radulovic is an entertainment reporter specializing in animation, fandom culture, theme parks, Disney, and young adult fantasy franchises.

Creator Insider on YouTube released a video to clarify some of what users call the more confusing parts of the platform’s profanity and monetization policies. Nothing has changed, but YouTube wants to make sure everyone’s on the same page.

One of the Creator Insider members is joined by someone named John from YouTube’s monetization team, and they cheerily explain what’s going on with censorship — what you can and cannot say when you’re trying to make money off videos.

Light swearing — darn, heck, fiddlesticks, damn, hell, and the like — is totally safe to use whenever. Load ’em up at the beginning of a video, feature them in the thumbnail or title, use them to the content of your gosh darn heart, and you’ll still be A-OK to turn ads on and monetize. Alternatively, heavier swears can be bleeped out and still fall into this category, they explain in the video.

Obviously hate speech and slurs don’t allow for monetization. If you make these kinds of videos, just don’t bother turning ads on.

The words that fall in between are where things get trickier. These are harder, heavier-hitting swears, like shit and asshole. Apparently, as long as they’re kept out of the title and thumbnail and not used repeatedly at the beginning of the video, the video should be good to go for monetization. In the comments, some pointed out that there’s no specificity on how much is too much, or what the heck the “beginning of the video” means. In response, Creator Insider pinned a comment detailing that the “beginning of the video” covers the first 30 seconds.

When it comes to this kind of swearing, according to the policy, you can turn ads on, but brands may elect not to advertise.

The policy can be found on YouTube’s support page.