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YouTube revamps community guidelines strike system

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In an effort to make policies clearer and consistent

Ross Miller/Polygon

For the first time since 2010, YouTube is updating its strikes policy, in an effort to maintain consistency and clarity across the community.

YouTube has always had a “three strikes and you’re out” system, though each strike dealt a different penalty to users. Under the new guidelines, the punishment for the first two strikes will be consistent. Instead of issuing a 90-day live-streaming ban, YouTube will trigger a one-week channel freeze as the first strike. This includes live-streaming, video uploads, and any other YouTube content. The second strike will result in a two-week channel freeze. The third strike results in removal from the platform. Strikes continue to reset after 90 days, and content found in violation will be removed from the platform.

According to YouTube, these changes come in response to confused users, who felt that the livestream ban was inconsistent, especially if the strike came from another source, such as an uploaded video or thumbnail image.

Also new to YouTube’s policy is a warning system. Previously, if a user violated YouTube’s guidelines, they would receive their first strike; now the first offense will be met with a warning instead. YouTube will still remove content found in violation of the rules under a warning.

YouTube explains that 98 percent of people never break the community guidelines, and out of the 2 percent that do, 94 percent do not repeat after their first strike. Having a warning system in place, YouTube hopes will encourage creators to learn more about the community guidelines.

In an effort to increase transparency, YouTube will also delineate exactly why the strike occurred and link to the place in YouTube’s guidelines that discusses the violation. In the past, users would only be informed of strike violations via email, but the new guidelines will introduce mobile notifications as well. Additionally, the language and content of these notifications will aim to educate instead of reprimand. YouTube’s policy resources will also be expanded, with more detail on what content violates the guidelines.

YouTube previously updated its community guidelines in January to clarify which kinds of content fell under “harmful and dangerous” pranks.

The new changes will go live on Feb. 25.