YouTube clears up what kind of profanity is OK to say and still get paid for its creators.
YouTube clears up what kind of profanity is OK to say and still get paid for its creators.

Image: Thomas Trutschel/Photothek via Getty Images

Hell yeah. YouTube is finally letting creators know what curse words they can use without taking a financial hit. 

In a video uploaded to its Creator Insider channel, YouTube has finally defined what exactly constitutes profanity on the platform. YouTube creators have often struggled with censoring their own content over fear that their videos will be demonetized, thus affecting their earning potential. 

For the first time, YouTubers now have a guide.

YouTube says it’s not just cursing that will affect your monetization status. Three things can affect whether your video is demonetized for profanity on the platform: the video’s title, thumbnail image, and how often the language is used at the beginning of the video. The company defines “the beginning of a video” at around 30 seconds, for now, noting that the definition can change over time.

According to YouTube, words like “damn,” “dang,” “shoot,” and “hell” are totally safe words and do not affect advertisers’ decisions on whether to run ads on a video.  Creators can use these words as often as they’d like, anywhere in their videos, as well as in the video title and thumbnail.

Cuss words that aren’t usually heard on primetime television, like “fuck,” are also OK to use in monetized videos. However, YouTube says to avoid using these words repeatedly at the beginning of the video. Creators should also keep these words out of the video’s title and thumbnail.

The profanity shown in this screenshot from YouTube's Creator Insider channel is generally OK to use depending on its context. Just follow the rules and video with this language can still be monetized.

The profanity shown in this screenshot from YouTube’s Creator Insider channel is generally OK to use depending on its context. Just follow the rules and video with this language can still be monetized.

Some words will not fly at all with YouTube’s advertisers. Racial slurs, derogatory content, and mean or hateful content directed at an individual or specific group of people are not safe for monetization. Context is key when it comes to certain types of videos, such as comedy, but this type of language in a video, title, or thumbnail will get your video demonetized. Bleeping will not save your racial slurs, according to the company.

It’s important to note that these are clarifications and not a change in YouTube’s policies. Its advertiser-friendly content guidelines already stated that inappropriate language, strong profanity, vulgarity, and inflammatory content could be subject to demonetization. Of course, the words that fit in those categories can be quite subjective. With this update, YouTube creators now have a little more clarity. 

As it turns out, you can curse on YouTube videos and make money off them, as long as you follow the damn rules.

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