Creator Safety Center
It’s exciting to share your voice with the world – but creating public content may lead to unpleasant interactions. Because creators have a public presence and that comes with risks, we collected tips from creators, security experts, and nonprofit organizations to help you make a plan to stay safe online.
Getting started with safety in mind
Getting started with safety in mind
From the start of your YouTube journey, be proactive about staying safe on YouTube.
Historically marginalized creators, such as women, non-binary, LGBTQ+, and BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) creators, report disproportionately experiencing some unwanted behavior frequently. They told us tips like these are valuable for all creators who are starting out.
Check out these security best practices shared by your fellow creators.
Start your journey with a secure account
Stolen passwords are more common than you might think. The #1 tip from creators and security experts to avoid unauthorized account access is to enable 2-step verification — which requires a second step after entering a password. Use our handy Security Checkup to ensure it is turned on.
If you use the same email across platforms and someone gets access to it, they can take over your YouTube and other accounts. Use a different email for your YouTube channel than the email you use for your other accounts.
Strong passwords are at least 8 characters long and have uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters. Don’t share your password with anyone!
If you have moderators, don’t share your password! Use channel permissions to add channel managers safely to your account. If you have a Brand Account, follow these steps.
Tip: Always make sure your moderators use 2-Step Verification and strong passwords. When someone leaves your team, remove moderation access immediately.
We’ve seen trends of creators being targeted. Be vigilant about emails that ask you to go to a link and websites that ask you to sign in to your Google Account.
To learn more about how to recognize phishing, review this helpful article by our partners at StaySafeOnline.org.
Growing your channel safely
As your channel grows, you may get attention from all kinds of people. Here are some tips that may help as your videos reach more viewers.
Determine your strategy
Creators told us they deploy different strategies for dealing with haters and trolls. Below are some examples that may help you decide what works best for you in different situations:
- Ignore. Trolls are people who post inflammatory comments to provoke an emotional response. Creators tell us it's best to ignore them — they're not likely to change their behavior, no matter what you do. But by not giving them the response they're looking for, they will usually lose interest and leave.
- Block and remove. For very offensive comments, or those that reveal personal information, many creators find it best to hide those commenters and remove the comments. Some creators go so far to add similar language to their blocked words list to help automate the process. Review the section on hiding comments below.
- Use humor and kindness. Some creators find humor or kindness is empowering for them and their community. For example, some creators have reported responding to comments shaming their bodies with, "I feel great! And I hope you care half as much about your health as I do mine!" with their audience members finding that supportive.
- Engage for education. Rarely (but it happens!) creators have turned someone around on an issue, including educating them on nuances between different cultures. Creators aren't doing this for the hater, but to empower their community. For example, when some creators in the deaf and hard of hearing communities received negative comments, they responded with, "let me tell you why deaf people feel this way" and opened up a dialogue.
These strategies aren't one size fits all and depend on your channel and audience. But we hope they can be a starting point as you figure out how to engage with a broader viewership.
Moderate comments and chats
Comments and Live chat are great ways to engage with your fans, but people can be mean or spammy.
You can remove or turn off comments and chats, and it won’t impact your video performance or rankings.
Set expectations for how your communities should interact on your channels. Here are some tools to help establish what is or isn’t allowed on your channel:
- Blocked words filter offensive words or phrases from your page.
- Block offensive comments with increased strictness.
You can block your real name, address, and other private
- Creators from LGBTQ+ communities have reported how important it is to draw a boundary between their real name and online presence, especially when coming out online.
- For live streaming, set up live chat moderation.
Negativity on your channel can be extremely hurtful. There are resources you can turn to for support.
Set clear boundaries
Establishing boundaries with your audience is a healthy part of content creation. Here are some tips to help you figure out what level of interaction you’re comfortable with:
- Determine your comfort level with parasocial relationships. Your viewers may act as if they know you, despite having no or limited interactions with you. It can help to be clear with your audience about what type of interactions feel comfortable to you.
- Some creators ask their viewers to not contact them in private messages. Others remind viewers that while their job is to entertain, they aren’t required to share intimate details about their lives.
- Your audience may look for details about you on the internet. Some creators have recommended using an internet scrubbing service to help monitor and remove your publicly available personal information.
- Your audience may come to your defense when there’s online conflict. Always encourage respectful interactions on YouTube, and ask your audience to review our Community Guidelines before posting.
Communicate boundaries by grounding them in your experiences with “I” statements, and be consistent.
- For example, if a creator does not want to show their face in their videos, they may say, "I know you are excited about me and my content. But I want to maintain my privacy and not show my face. I hope you can continue to enjoy my content as I choose to share it."
If your boundaries aren’t being respected, we have tools to help:
- Learn how to block a commenter.
- Learn how to report a video or a channel.
- You can report privacy concerns.
Managing unwanted behavior from others
Managing unwanted behavior from others
It’s against our policies to threaten anyone on YouTube with violence or to harass someone with prolonged or malicious insults based on their protected attributes. If you experience this behavior, report it to us.
We know there still may be times when interactions leave you feeling afraid, lonely, or stressed. Here are some tips to help you when you’ve experienced unwanted behavior.
Experiencing unwanted behavior might make you feel isolated, confused, or overwhelmed, but know that this isn’t your fault.
Sometimes it helps to process your emotions. Here are some guiding questions to help you process what you’re feeling.
- What happened and how did it make you feel? What about it made you feel that way? It might help to talk or write out the events and how you reacted.
- Sometimes it helps to keep comments in perspective. Does the comment or chat feel like a well-meaning criticism or an attack? Why does it feel one way or the other to you? Why else might the commenter be saying these things?
- Do you want to set a boundary with your audience on these types of interactions?
There’s no shame in needing to process your emotions with others. Consider reaching out to support resources.
Research shows that creators of all ages can experience hurtful comments. Creators suggest you “don’t feed the trolls” and try to ignore anything hurtful.
If the same person keeps addressing you in your comments or Live chat, here are a few things you can do to stop them:
- Hide a commenter or Live chat user across all videos on your channel.
- Live chat only: Put a user in timeout for a short period of time.
- Learn more about content moderation.
If you experience unwanted comments or Live chats from multiple people, here are some tools to help:
- Hold potentially inappropriate messages. These comments won’t be posted unless you review and approve them - it’s up to you. For further protection, select “Increase strictness.”
- Create a blocked words list with language you don’t want in your comments or Live chat.
- Live chat only: Turn on slow mode to limit how often someone can chat.
- Use a Subscribers- or Members-only live chat.
- Learn more about live chat moderation.
It can be scary when someone hacks your account, but we can work with you to recover it.
When you get your account back, immediately follow these steps to secure it:
- Review the Safety Checklist.
- Turn on Advanced Protection.
- Review your channel permission settings. Make sure that only people you trust have access to your channel.
- Check your video visibility settings in case they were changed.
If someone impersonates you or your channel, here are some steps you can take to protect yourself and your viewers.
- If they’re responding to your comments, hide them in comments, and consider disabling links.
- Report the impersonating channel.
- If you’re an eligible creator, contact Support (this includes, but may not be limited to, creators in the YouTube Partner Program).
Need help immediately?
Physical danger and violent threats
If you or someone you know is in danger, contact police or a trusted resource immediately.
If someone on YouTube threatens you with physical harm, report it to us right away. This type of behavior isn’t allowed on YouTube.
If someone is stalking you, use these safety resources to help protect yourself. Women and non-binary creators disproportionately experience stalking compared to men and told us they wish they knew these tips when they started.
Remember to document all evidence online or offline (for example, screenshots or surveillance footage, document the time and date things occur, and if there are other witnesses, who they are and collect what they saw). Consider contacting local authorities or getting legal representation.
Depression, suicide or thoughts of self-harm
If you or someone you know is considering self-harm or suicide, the first thing we want you to know is that you’re not alone and you matter.
If you or someone you know is thinking about harming themselves, reach out for support immediately. Find support in your area.
It might help to talk to someone who understands. Consider reaching out to National Suicide Prevention Lifeline or joining a support group, like the groups offered through the National Alliance of Mental Illness.
Our partners at ConnectSafely have a list of resources that can help support individuals who are experiencing mental health crises or thoughts of self-harm. The resources also include organizations that specialize in supporting specific groups, like individuals who identify as LGBTQ+.
It might help to listen to stories from other creators and get tips from experts on how to manage anxiety and depression. Check out this playlist.
Finding the support you need
Being a creator may be your livelihood, but having a public audience can often be stressful. You’re not alone. Here are some resources that you can reach out to for help. Remember that it’s always okay to take a break.
Talk to family or friends who know you personally. Reach out to people who won’t judge you and will support you no matter what.
Get support and find answers from other creators on the YouTube Help Community.
The YouTube Reframe series features creators who share their experiences of bouncing back after setbacks and balancing their online and offline lives.
Read advice from experts
Here are some resources from trusted experts to help you find the support you need.
Review the Digital Reputation Checklist by our partners at Family Online Safety Institute.
PEN America released tips on how to practice self-care if you experience online harassment.
OnlineSOS Action Center shares steps you can take if you're targeted online
Take a break
Consider taking a break to manage your digital wellbeing, reducing time online, or relying on a moderator to manage your online presence.
Whether a break for you is a few days or a few months, YouTube’s recommendation systems do not disadvantage channels that break from uploading. We worked with creators to build this guide on what taking a break can look like.
Resources for family and friends
Here are some tips for your friends and family to help them support you better.
Be there and be present. Creators say that what helps most is to be heard – really listened to – by a person in their life who cares. Being targeted online can be a very lonely or shameful experience.
The ultimate goal is to restore self-respect and greater resilience in people who experience unwanted behavior. You can't control what other people do, but you can help them focus on things that make them feel happy, confident, or grounded. For example – get out and go for a walk together, or try that new cafe or yoga class like they've always wanted.