YouTube is an American online video sharing and
social media platform Social media are interactive technologies that allow the Content creation, creation or information sharing, sharing/exchange of information, ideas, career interests, and other forms of expression via virtual communities and Network virtualization, ...

social media platform
owned by
Google Google LLC is an American multinational Multinational may refer to: * Multinational corporation, a corporate organization operating in multiple countries * Multinational force, a military body from multiple countries * Multinational stat ...

. It was launched on February 14, 2005 by
Steve Chen Steven Shih Chen (; born August 25, 1978) is a Taiwanese American Internet entrepreneur who is one of the cofounders and previous chief technology officer of the video-sharing website YouTube. After having cofounded the company ''AVOS System ...
Chad Hurley Chad Meredith Hurley (born January 24, 1977) is an American webmaster A webmaster is a person responsible for maintaining one or more website A website (also written as web site) is a collection of web pages and related content that is ...
, and
Jawed Karim Jawed Karim ( bn, জাওয়েদ করিম; born October 28, 1979) is an American software engineer and Internet entrepreneur An Internet entrepreneur is an owner, founder or manager of an Internet The Internet (Capitaliz ...

Jawed Karim
. It is the second most visited website, right after Google itself. YouTube has more than one billion monthly users who collectively watch more than one billion hours of videos each day. , videos were being uploaded at a rate of more than 500 hours of content per minute. In October 2006, YouTube was bought by Google for $1.65 billion. Google's ownership of YouTube has also changed its business model; it no longer generates revenue from advertisements alone. YouTube now offers paid content such as movies and exclusive content. YouTube and approved creators participate in Google's
AdSense Google AdSense is a program run by Google through which website publishers in the Google Display Network, Google Network of content sites serve text, images, video, or interactive media advertisements that are targeted advertising, targeted to ...
program, which generates more revenue for both parties. It has since evolved from a small video streaming platform to a large service with reported revenues of $19.8 billion in 2020. Since its purchase by Google, YouTube has expanded beyond the website into
mobile app A mobile application, also referred to as a mobile app or simply an app, is a computer program In imperative programming In computer science, imperative programming is a programming paradigm that uses Statement (computer science), statements t ...
s, network television, and the with other services. Video categories on YouTube include
music video A music video is a video Video is an Electronics, electronic medium for the recording, copying, playback, broadcasting, and display of moving picture, moving image, visual Media (communication), media. Video was first developed for mechan ...
video clip Video clips (or movie clips) are short clips of video or movie, usually part of a longer recording. The term is also more loosely used to mean any short video less than the length of a traditional television program. On the Internet With the s ...
news News is information about current events. This may be provided through many different Media (communication), media: word of mouth, printing, postal systems, broadcasting, electronic communication, or through the testimony of observers and w ...

short film A short film is any motion picture A film, also called a movie, motion picture or moving picture, is a work of visual art used to simulate experiences that communicate ideas, stories, perceptions, feelings, beauty, or atmosphere through t ...
feature film A feature film or feature-length film is a narrative film (motion picture or "movie") with a running time long enough to be considered the principal or sole presentation in a commercial entertainment program. The term ''feature film'' originally ...
documentaries A documentary film is a non-fictional motion-picture intended to "document reality, primarily for the purposes of instruction, education, or maintaining a historical record". Bill Nichols has characterised the documentary in terms of "a filmma ...
, audio recordings, movie trailers, teasers,
live stream Livestreaming refers to online streaming media simultaneously recorded and broadcast Broadcasting is the distribution (business), distribution of sound, audio or video content to a dispersed audience via any electronic medium (communication), ...
vlog A video blog or video log, sometimes shortened to vlog (), is a form of blog A blog (a truncation In mathematics and computer science, truncation is limiting the number of numerical digit, digits right of the decimal point. Truncation and ...
s, and more. Most content is generated by individuals. This includes collaborations between
YouTuber A YouTuber, also known as a YouTube celebrity, YouTube content creator, YouTube Creator or YouTube personality, is a type of videographer or entertainer who produces videos for the video-sharing website YouTube, sometimes being supported by lar ...
s and corporate sponsors. Since 2015, established media corporations such as
Disney The Walt Disney Company, commonly known as Disney (), is an American diversified multinational mass media and entertainment conglomerate headquartered at the Walt Disney Studios complex in Burbank, California California is a U.S. st ...
ViacomCBS ViacomCBS Inc. is an American diversified multinational mass media and formed through the of the and the on December 4, 2019 (which were split from the in 2006) and headquartered at the complex in , , . The company operates over 170 netw ...

, and
WarnerMedia Warner Media, LLC ( traded as WarnerMedia, but stylized as WarnerMedia; formerly known as Time Warner from 1990 to 2001 and again from 2003 to 2018; from 2001 to 2003, AOL Time Warner and from 1972 to 1990, Warner Communications) is an Americ ...

have created and expanded their corporate YouTube channels to advertise to a larger audience. YouTube has had an unprecedented social impact, influencing popular culture, internet trends, and creating multimillionaire celebrities. Despite all its growth and success, YouTube has been widely criticized. Criticism of YouTube includes; the website being used to facilitate the spread of
misinformation Misinformation is false, inaccurate, or misleading information Information can be thought of as the resolution of uncertainty; it answers the question of "What an entity is" and thus defines both its essence and the nature of its characteris ...
, copyright issues, routine violations of its users' privacy, enabling censorship, and endangering child safety and wellbeing.


Founding and initial growth (2005–2006)

YouTube was founded by
Steve Chen Steven Shih Chen (; born August 25, 1978) is a Taiwanese American Internet entrepreneur who is one of the cofounders and previous chief technology officer of the video-sharing website YouTube. After having cofounded the company ''AVOS System ...
Chad Hurley Chad Meredith Hurley (born January 24, 1977) is an American webmaster A webmaster is a person responsible for maintaining one or more website A website (also written as web site) is a collection of web pages and related content that is ...
, and
Jawed Karim Jawed Karim ( bn, জাওয়েদ করিম; born October 28, 1979) is an American software engineer and Internet entrepreneur An Internet entrepreneur is an owner, founder or manager of an Internet The Internet (Capitaliz ...

Jawed Karim
. The trio were all early employees of
PayPal PayPal Holdings, Inc. is an American multinational financial technology company operating an online payments system in the majority of countries that support online money transfers, and serves as an electronic alternative to traditional pape ...

, which left them enriched after the company was bought by
eBay eBay Inc. ( ) is an American multinational Multinational may refer to: * Multinational corporation, a corporate organization operating in multiple countries * Multinational force, a military body from multiple countries * Multinational sta ...
. Hurley had studied design at
Indiana University of Pennsylvania Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP) is a public university in Indiana County, Pennsylvania. As of fall 2019, the university enrolled 8,279 undergraduates and 2,079 postgraduates, for a total enrollment of 10,348 students. The university is ...
, and Chen and Karim studied
computer science Computer science deals with the theoretical foundations of information, algorithms and the architectures of its computation as well as practical techniques for their application. Computer science is the study of , , and . Computer science ...
together at the
University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (U of I, Illinois, or colloquially the University of Illinois or UIUC) is a public In public relations and communication science, publics are groups of individual people, and the public (a.k.a. ...
. According to a story that has often been repeated in the media, Hurley and Chen developed the idea for YouTube during the early months of 2005, after they had experienced difficulty sharing videos that had been shot at a dinner party at Chen's apartment in
San Francisco San Francisco (; Spanish language, Spanish for "Francis of Assisi, Saint Francis"), officially the City and County of San Francisco, is a cultural, commercial, and financial center in the U.S. state of California. Located in Northern Califo ...

San Francisco
. Karim did not attend the party and denied that it had occurred, but Chen remarked that the idea that YouTube was founded after a dinner party "was probably very strengthened by marketing ideas around creating a story that was very digestible". Karim said the inspiration for YouTube first came from the
Super Bowl XXXVIII halftime show controversy Super Bowl XXXVIII halftime show, The halftime show at Super Bowl XXXVIII, which was broadcast Live television, live on February 1, 2004, from Houston, Texas, on the CBS television network, is notable for a moment in which Janet Jackson's breast ...
, when
Janet Jackson Janet Damita Jo Jackson (born May 16, 1966) is an American singer, songwriter, actress, and dancer. She is noted for her innovative, socially conscious and sexually provocative records, as well as elaborate stage shows. Her sound and choreog ...

Janet Jackson
's breast was briefly exposed by
Justin Timberlake Justin Randall Timberlake (born January 31, 1981) is an American singer, songwriter, actor, and record producer. Born and raised in Tennessee, he appeared on the television shows ''Star Search'' and ''The Mickey Mouse Club#1989–1994 revival: ...

Justin Timberlake
during the halftime show. Karim could not easily find video clips of the incident and 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami online, which led to the idea of a video sharing site. Hurley and Chen said that the original idea for YouTube was a video version of an
online dating service Online dating (or Internet dating) is a system that enables people to find and introduce themselves to potential connections over the Internet, usually with the goal of developing personal, romantic, or sexual relationships. An online dating serv ...
, and had been influenced by the website Hot or Not. They created posts on
Craigslist Craigslist (stylized as craigslist) is an American classified advertisements website with sections devoted to jobs, housing, for sale, items wanted, services, community service Volunteers complete a cleanup of litter and trash Community se ...

asking attractive women to upload videos of themselves to YouTube in exchange for a $100 reward. Difficulty in finding enough dating videos led to a change of plans, with the site's founders deciding to accept uploads of any type of video. YouTube began as a
venture capital Venture capital (VC) is a form of private equity Private equity (PE) typically refers to investment funds, generally organized as limited partnerships, that buy and restructure companies that are not publicly traded. Private equity is a typ ...
–funded technology startup. Between November 2005 and April 2006, the company raised money from a variety of investors with
Sequoia Capital Sequoia Capital is an American venture capital Venture capital (VC) is a form of private equity Private equity (PE) typically refers to investment funds, generally organized as limited partnerships, that buy and restructure companies that ...
, $11.5 million, and Artis Capital Management, $8 million, being the largest two. YouTube's early headquarters were situated above a pizzeria and Japanese restaurant in
San Mateo, California San Mateo ( ; ) is a city in San Mateo County, California San Mateo County ( ), officially the County of San Mateo, is a county (United States), county located in the U.S. state of California. As of the 2010 United States Census, 2010 census, t ...
. In February 2005, the company activated www.youtube.com. The first video was uploaded April 23, 2005. Titled ''
Me at the zoo "Me at the zoo" is the first video that was uploaded to YouTube. It was uploaded on April 23, 2005, at 8:31:52 p.m. PDT (April 24, 2005 at 03:31:52 a.m. UTC), by the site's co-founder Jawed Karim, who uploaded the video onto a channel with th ...
'', it shows co-founder Jawed Karim at the
San Diego Zoo The San Diego Zoo is a zoo in Balboa Park (San Diego), Balboa Park, San Diego, California, housing over 12,000 animals of more than 650 species and subspecies on of Balboa Park leased from the City of San Diego. Its parent organization, San Dieg ...

San Diego Zoo
and can still be viewed on the site. In May, the company launched a public beta and by November, a Nike ad featuring
Ronaldinho Ronaldo de Assis Moreira (born 21 March 1980), commonly known as Ronaldinho Gaúcho () or simply Ronaldinho, is a Brazilian former professional association football, footballer and current ambassador for FC Barcelona, Barcelona. He played most ...

became the first video to reach one million total views. The site launched officially on December 15, 2005, by which time the site was receiving 8 million views a day. Clips at the time were limited to 100 megabytes, as little as 30 seconds of footage. Contrary to popular belief, YouTube was not the first video-sharing site on the Internet;
Vimeo Vimeo, Inc. () is an American video hosting, sharing, and services platform provider headquartered in New York City New York, often called New York City to distinguish it from , or NYC for short, is the in the United States. With a 2020 ...

was launched in November 2004, though that site remained a side project of its developers from
CollegeHumor CollegeHumor is an Internet comedy company based in Los Angeles Los Angeles (; es, Los Ángeles; "The Angels"), officially the City of Los Angeles and often abbreviated as L.A., is the List of cities and towns in California, largest ci ...
at the time and did not grow much, either. The week of YouTube's launch, NBC-Universal's ''
Saturday Night Live ''Saturday Night Live'' (also known as ''SNL'') is an American late-night live television sketch comedy Sketch comedy comprises a series of short, amusing scenes or vignettes, called "sketches", commonly between one and ten minutes long, ...

Saturday Night Live
'' ran a skit " Lazy Sunday" by
The Lonely Island The Lonely Island is an American comedy trio, formed by Akiva Schaffer, Andy Samberg, and Jorma Taccone in Berkeley, California in 2001. They have written for and been featured in the American TV program ''Saturday Night Live'' (''SNL''). The ...

The Lonely Island
. Besides helping to bolster ratings and long-term viewership for ''Saturday Night Live'', "Lazy Sunday"'s status as an early
viral video right , 300px , Cumulative video views, leading to a lower, but relatively stable, long-term growth rate by the end of the first year. A viral video is a video Video is an Electronics, electronic medium for the recording, copying, pl ...
helped establish YouTube as an important website. Unofficial uploads of the skit to YouTube drew in more than five million collective views by February 2006 before they were removed when
NBCUniversal NBCUniversal Media, LLC, traded as NBCUniversal (formerly known as NBC Universal, Inc. from 2004 to 2011), is an American multinational Multinational may refer to: * Multinational corporation, a corporate organization operating in multiple countr ...
requested it two months later based on copyright concerns. Despite eventually being taken down, these duplicate uploads of the skit helped popularize YouTube's reach and led to the upload of more third-party content. The site grew rapidly and, in July 2006, the company announced that more than 65,000 new videos were being uploaded every day, and that the site was receiving 100 million video views per day. The choice of the name www.youtube.com led to problems for a similarly named website, www.utube.com. That site's owner, Universal Tube & Rollform Equipment, filed a lawsuit against YouTube in November 2006 after being regularly overloaded by people looking for YouTube. Universal Tube subsequently changed its website towww.utubeonline.com.

Broadcast Yourself era (2006–2013)

On October 9, 2006,
Google Google LLC is an American multinational Multinational may refer to: * Multinational corporation, a corporate organization operating in multiple countries * Multinational force, a military body from multiple countries * Multinational stat ...

announced that it had acquired YouTube for $1.65 billion in Google stock. The deal was finalized on November 13, 2006. Google's acquisition launched new newfound interest in video-sharing sites; IAC, which now owned Vimeo, focused on supporting the content creators to distinguish itself from YouTube. It is at this time YouTube issued the slogan "Broadcast Yourself". The company experienced rapid growth. ''
The Daily Telegraph ''The Daily Telegraph'', known online and elsewhere as ''The Telegraph'' (), is a national British daily broadsheet A broadsheet is the largest newspaper format and is characterized by long vertical pages, typically of . Other common ne ...

The Daily Telegraph
'' wrote that in 2007, YouTube consumed as much
bandwidth Bandwidth commonly refers to: * Bandwidth (signal processing) or ''analog bandwidth'', ''frequency bandwidth'', or ''radio bandwidth'', a measure of the width of a frequency range * Bandwidth (computing), the rate of data transfer, bit rate or thro ...
as the entire Internet in 2000. By 2010, the company had reached a
market share Market share is the percentage of the total revenue or sales in a market Market may refer to: *Market (economics) *Market economy *Marketplace, a physical marketplace or public market Geography *Märket, an island shared by Finland and Swe ...
of around 43% and more than 14 billion views of videos, according to
comScore Comscore is an American media measurement and analytics company providing marketing Marketing refers to activities a company A company, abbreviated as co., is a Legal personality, legal entity representing an association of people, wheth ...
. That year, the company simplified its interface in order to increase the time users would spend on the site. In 2011, more than three billion videos were being watched each day with 48 hours of new videos uploaded every minute. However, most of these views came from a relatively small number of videos; according to a software engineer at that time, 30% of videos accounted for 99% of views on the site. That year, the company again changed its interface and at the same time, introduced a new logo with a darker shade of red. A subsequent interface change, designed to unify the experience across desktop, TV, and mobile, was rolled out in 2013."YouTube rolls out redesigned 'One Channel' layout to all users"
(TheNextWeb article, June 5, 2013).
By that point, more than 100 hours were being uploaded every minute, a number that would increase to 300 hours by November 2014. During this time, the company also went through some organizational changes. In October 2006, YouTube moved to a new office in
San Bruno, California San Bruno is a city in San Mateo County, California, United States, incorporated in 1914. The population was 41,114 at the 2010 United States Census. The city is between South San Francisco and Millbrae, adjacent to San Francisco International Ai ...
. Hurley announced that he would be stepping down as a chief executive officer of YouTube to take an advisory role and that
Salar Kamangar Salar Kamangar (; born 1977 in Piranshahr) is an Iranian-American senior executive at Google and former CEO of Google's YouTube brand. Early childhood and education Salar Kamangar (born in Piranshahr, Imperial State of Iran) holds a bachelor's de ...

Salar Kamangar
would take over as head of the company in October 2010.

YouTube's new CEO (2014–2018)

Susan Wojcicki Susan Diane Wojcicki ( ; born July 5, 1968) is a Polish-American Polish Americans ( pl, Polonia amerykańska) are Americans Americans are the Citizenship of the United States, citizens and United States nationality law, nationals of the U ...
was appointed
CEO A chief executive officer (CEO), chief administrator officer, or just chief executive (CE), is one of a number of Corporate Executive, corporate executives in charge of managing an organization especially an independent Legal person, legal entity ...
of YouTube in February 2014. In January 2016, YouTube expanded its headquarters in San Bruno by purchasing an office park for $215 million. The complex has 51,468 square metres (554,000 square feet) of space and can house up to 2,800 employees. YouTube officially launched the "polymer" redesign of its user interfaces based on
Material Design #REDIRECT Material Design Material Design (codenamed Quantum Paper) is a design language A design is a plan or specification for the construction of an object or system or for the implementation of an activity or process, or the result of that ...

Material Design
language as its default, as well a redesigned logo that is built around the service's play button emblem in August 2017. Through this period, YouTube tried several new ways to generate revenue beyond advertisements. In 2013, YouTube launched a pilot program for content providers to offer premium, subscription-based channels within the platform. This effort was discontinued in January 2018 and relaunched in June, with US$4.99 channel subscriptions. These channel subscriptions complemented the existing Super Chat ability, launched in 2017, which allows viewers to donate between $1 and $500 to have their comment highlighted. In 2014, YouTube announced a subscription service known as "Music Key," which bundled ad-free streaming of music content on YouTube with the existing
Google Play Music Google Play Music was a music and podcast streaming service and online music locker operated by Google Google LLC is an American Multinational corporation, multinational technology company that specializes in Internet-related servic ...
service. The service continued to evolve in 2015, when YouTube announced YouTube Red, a new premium service that would offer ad-free access to all content on the platform (succeeding the Music Key service released the previous year), premium original series, and films produced by YouTube personalities, as well as background playback of content on mobile devices. YouTube also released
YouTube Music YouTube Music is a music streaming service The following is a list of on-demand music streaming services. The services offer streaming of full-length content via the Internet as a part of their service, without the listener necessarily purchasing ...

YouTube Music
, a third app oriented towards streaming and discovering the music content hosted on the YouTube platform. The company also attempted to create products to appeal to specific kinds of viewers. YouTube released a mobile app known as
YouTube Kids YouTube Kids is an American video app and website for kids developed by YouTube YouTube is an American and owned by . It was launched on February 14, 2005 by , , and . It is the website, right after Google itself. YouTube has more tha ...
in 2015, designed to provide an experience optimized for children. It features a simplified user interface, curated selections of channels featuring age-appropriate content, and parental control features. Also in 2015, YouTube launched YouTube Gaming—a
video gaming A video game is an electronic game An electronic game is a game with separate sliding drawer, from 1390–1353 BC, made of glazed faience, dimensions: 5.5 × 7.7 × 21 cm, in the Brooklyn Museum (New York City) '', 15 ...
-oriented vertical and app for videos and live streaming, intended to compete with the
Amazon.com Amazon.com, Inc. ( ) is an American multinational Multinational may refer to: * Multinational corporation, a corporate organization operating in multiple countries * Multinational force, a military body from multiple countries * Multinational ...
Twitch Twitch may refer to: Physiology * Muscle contraction ** Convulsion, rapid and repeated muscle contraction and relaxation ** Fasciculation, a small, local, involuntary muscle contraction ** Myoclonic twitch, a jerk usually caused by sudden muscle c ...

Consolidation and controversy (2019–present)

By February 2017, one billion hours of YouTube were watched every day, and 400 hours of video were uploaded every minute. Two years later, the uploads had risen to more than 500 hours per minute. During the
COVID-19 pandemic The COVID-19 pandemic is an ongoing global pandemic A pandemic (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a c ...

COVID-19 pandemic
, when most of the world was under
stay-at-home order A stay-at-home order, safer-at-home order, movement control order (more common in Southeast Asia), or lockdown restrictions (in the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kin ...
s, usage of services such as YouTube greatly increased. One data firm estimated that YouTube was accounting for 15% of all internet traffic, twice its pre-pandemic level. In response to EU officials requesting that such services reduce bandwidth as to make sure medical entities had sufficient bandwidth to share information, YouTube along with Netflix stated they would reduce streaming quality for at least thirty days as to cut bandwidth use of their services by 25% to comply with the EU's request. YouTube later announced that they would continue with this move worldwide: "We continue to work closely with governments and network operators around the globe to do our part to minimize stress on the system during this unprecedented situation." The company was attacked on April 3, 2018, when a shooting occurred at YouTube's headquarters in San Bruno, California, which wounded four and resulted in one death (the shooter). Following a 2018 complaint alleging violations of the
Children's Online Privacy Protection Act The Children's Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998 (COPPA) is a United States federal law, located at (). The act, effective April 21, 2000, applies to the online collection of personal information by persons or entities under U.S. jurisd ...
(COPPA), the company was fined $170 million by the FTC for collecting personal information from minors under the age of 13. YouTube was also ordered to create systems to increase children's privacy. Following criticisms of its implementation of those systems, YouTube started treating all videos designated as "made for kids" as liable under COPPA on January 6, 2020. Joining the YouTube Kids app, the company created a supervised mode, designed more for tweens, in 2021. Additionally in an effort to compete with
TikTok TikTok, known in China as Douyin (), is a -focused owned by Chinese company . It hosts a variety of short-form user videos, from genres like pranks, stunts, tricks, jokes, dance, and entertainment with durations from 15 seconds to three minut ...
, YouTube has released YouTube Shorts which allows users to create short videos to music. During this period, YouTube entered disputes with other tech companies. For over a year, in 2018 and 2019, there was no YouTube app available for
Amazon Fire The Amazon Fire, formerly called the Kindle Fire, is a line of tablet computers developed by Amazon.com. Built with Quanta Computer, the Kindle Fire was first released in November 2011; it features a colour 7-inch multi-touch display with IPS p ...
products. In 2020,
Roku Roku ( ) is a brand of hardware s manufactured by American company They offer access to content from various online services. The first Roku model, developed in collaboration with , was introduced in May 2008. Roku devices have been conside ...

removed the YouTube TV app from its streaming store after the two companies were unable to reach an agreement. After testing earlier in 2021, YouTube removed public display of dislike counts on videos in November 2021, citing its internal research that found users often used the dislike feature as a form of
cyberbullying Cyberbullying or cyberharassment is a form of bullying upright=1.3, Banner in a campaign against bullying Cefet-MG Bullying is the use of force, coercion, hurtful teasing or threat, to abuse Abuse is the improper usage or tre ...

and brigading. While some users praised the move as a way to discourage
trolls A troll is a being in Scandinavian folklore Scandinavian folklore or Nordic folklore is the folklore of Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Iceland and the Faroes, Faroe Islands. It has common roots with, and has been mutually influenced by, folklore ...
, others felt that hiding dislikes would make it harder for viewers to recognize clickbait or unhelpful videos, and that other features already existed for creators to limit bullying. Some theorised the removal of dislikes was influenced by YouTube Rewind 2018, which was universally panned and became the most-disliked video on the platform. YouTube co-founder Jawed Karim referred to the update as "a stupid idea", and that the reason behind the change was "not a good one, and not one that will be publicly disclosed." Karim felt that the ability for users on a social platform to identity bad content was essential, saying, "The process works, and there's a name for it: the wisdom of the crowds. The process breaks when the platform interferes with it. Then, the platform invariably declines."


Video technology

YouTube primarily uses the
VP9 VP9 is an open Open or OPEN may refer to: citizen * Open (band), Australian pop/rock band * The Open (band), English indie rock band * ''Open'' (Blues Image album), 1969 * ''Open'' (Gotthard album), 1999 * ''Open'' (Cowboy Junkies album), ...
and H.264/MPEG-4 AVC video codecs, and the
Dynamic Adaptive Streaming over HTTP Dynamic Adaptive Streaming over HTTP (DASH), also known as MPEG-DASH, is an adaptive bitrate streaming technique that enables high quality streaming media, streaming of media content over the Internet delivered from conventional HTTP web servers. Si ...
MPEG-4 Part 2 MPEG-4 Part 2, MPEG-4 Visual (formally International Organization for Standardization, ISO/International Electrotechnical Commission, IEC 14496-2) is a video compression format developed by the Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG). It belongs to the ...
streams contained within
3GP 3GP (3GPP file format) is a multimedia Container format (digital), container format defined by the 3GPP, Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) for 3G UMTS multimedia services. It is used on 3G mobile phones but can also be played on some 2G ...
containers are also provided for low bandwidth connections.Alt URL
/ref> By January 2019, YouTube had begun rolling out videos in
AV1 AOMedia Video 1 (AV1) is an , initially designed for video transmissions over the Internet. It was developed as a successor to by the (AOMedia), a consortium founded in 2015 that includes semiconductor firms, providers, video content prod ...

format. In 2021 it was reported that the company was considering requiring AV1 in streaming hardware in order to decrease bandwidth and increase quality. Video is usually streamed alongside the Opus and AAC audio codecs. At launch in 2005, viewing YouTube videos on a personal computer required the
Adobe Flash Player Adobe Flash Player (also called Shockwave Flash in Internet Explorer Internet Explorer (formerly Microsoft Internet Explorer and Windows Internet Explorer, (from August 16, 1995 to March 30, 2021) commonly abbreviated IE or MSIE) is a discon ...
plug-in to be installed in the browser. In January 2010, YouTube launched an experimental version of the site that used the built-in multimedia capabilities of web browsers supporting the
HTML5 HTML5 is a markup language #REDIRECT Markup language In computer text processing, a markup language is a system for annotation, annotating a document in a way that is Syntax (logic), syntactically distinguishable from the text, meaning when ...

standard. This allowed videos to be viewed without requiring Adobe Flash Player or any other plug-in to be installed. On January 27, 2015, YouTube announced that HTML5 would be the default playback method on supported browsers. With the switch to HTML5 video streams using
Dynamic Adaptive Streaming over HTTP Dynamic Adaptive Streaming over HTTP (DASH), also known as MPEG-DASH, is an adaptive bitrate streaming technique that enables high quality streaming media, streaming of media content over the Internet delivered from conventional HTTP web servers. Si ...
(MPEG-DASH), an adaptive bit-rate HTTP-based streaming solution optimizing the bitrate and quality for the available network. The platform can serve videos at optionally lower resolution levels starting at 144p for smoothening playback in areas and countries with limited Internet speeds, improving compatibility, as well as for the preservation of limited cellular data plans. The resolution setting can be adjusted automatically based on detected connection speed, as well as be set manually. From 2008 to 2017, users could add "annotations" to their videos—such as pop-up text messages and hyperlinks and which allowed for interactive videos. By 2019 all annotations had been removed from videos, breaking some videos which depended on the feature. YouTube introduced standardized
widgets Widget is a placeholder name for an Widget (economics), unnamed, unspecified, or hypothetical manufactured good or product. The word was coined by in his play ' (1924). This meaning has been extended in various ways: Technology Computing * Soft ...
intended to replace annotations in a cross-platform manner, including "end screens" (a customizable array of thumbnails for specified videos displayed near the end of the video). In 2018, YouTube became an ISNI registry, and announced its intention to begin creating ISNI identifiers to uniquely identify the musicians whose videos it features.


All YouTube users can upload videos up to 15 minutes each in duration. Users can verify their account, normally through a mobile phone, to gain the ability to upload videos up to 12 hours in length, as well as produce live streams."Upload videos longer than 15 minutes"
YouTube Help. Retrieved July 15, 2017.
"Introduction to live streaming"
YouTube Help. Retrieved September 22, 2017.
When YouTube was launched in 2005, it was possible to upload longer videos, but a 10-minute limit was introduced in March 2006 after YouTube found that the majority of videos exceeding this length were unauthorized uploads of television shows and films. The 10-minute limit was increased to 15 minutes in July 2010. Videos can be at most 256 in size or 12 hours, whichever is less. , automatic
closed captions The "Slashed ear" symbol is the International Symbol for Deafness used by TVNZ and other Television in New Zealand, New Zealand broadcasters, as well as on VHS tapes released by Alliance Atlantis. The symbol was used on road signs to identify Tel ...
speech recognition Speech recognition is an interdisciplinary subfield of computer science and computational linguistics that develops Methodology, methodologies and technologies that enable the recognition and translation of spoken language into text by computers ...

speech recognition
technology when a video is uploaded is available in 13 languages, and can be machine-translated during playback. YouTube also offers manual closed captioning as part of its creator studio. YouTube formerly offered a 'Community Captions' feature, where viewers could write and submit captions for public display upon approval by the video uploader, but this was deprecated in September 2020. YouTube accepts the most common container formats, including MP4,
Matroska The Matroska Multimedia Container is a free, open-standard container format, a file format ogg-file: 154 kilobytes. A file format is a standard way that information is encoded for storage in a computer file. It specifies how bits are use ...

FLV #REDIRECT Flash Video#REDIRECT Flash Video Flash Video is a container file format used to deliver digital video Digital video is an electronic representation of moving visual images ( video) in the form of encoded digital data Digital usua ...
, AVI,
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3GP 3GP (3GPP file format) is a multimedia Container format (digital), container format defined by the 3GPP, Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) for 3G UMTS multimedia services. It is used on 3G mobile phones but can also be played on some 2G ...
, MPEG-PS, and the
QuickTime File Format QuickTime File Format (QTFF) is a computer file format used natively by the QuickTime QuickTime is an extensible multimedia framework developed by Apple Inc., capable of handling various formats of digital video, picture, sound, QuickTime V ...
. Some intermediate video formats (i.e., primarily used for professional video editing, not for final delivery or storage) are also accepted, such as
ProRes Apple ProRes is a high quality, lossy In information technology, lossy compression or irreversible compression is the class of data encoding methods that uses inexact approximations and partial data discarding to represent the content. These te ...
. YouTube provides recommended encoding settings. Each video is identified by an eleven-character
case-sensitiveIn computers, case sensitivity defines whether uppercase and lowercase letters are treated as distinct (case-sensitive) or equivalent (case-insensitive). For instance, when users interested in learning about dogs search an e-book An electronic b ...
Base64 In programming, Base64 is a group of binary-to-text encoding A binary-to-text encoding is code, encoding of data (computing), data in plain text. More precisely, it is an encoding of binary data in a sequence of character (computing), printable ...
string in the
Uniform Resource Locator A Uniform Resource Locator (URL), colloquially termed a web address, is a reference to a web resource that specifies its location on a computer network and a mechanism for retrieving it. A URL is a specific type of Uniform Resource Identifier ( ...

Uniform Resource Locator
(URL) which can contain letters, digits, an underscore (_), and a dash (-). In 2018, YouTube added a feature called ''Premiere'' which displays a notification to the user mentioning when the video will be available for the first time, like for a live stream but with a prerecorded video. When the scheduled time arrives, the video is aired as a live broadcast with a two-minute countdown. Optionally, a premiere can be initiated immediately.

Quality and formats

YouTube originally offered videos at only one quality level, displayed at a resolution of 320×240
pixel In digital imaging Digital imaging or digital image acquisition is the creation of a representation of the visual characteristics of an object, such as a physical scene or the interior structure of an object. The term is often assumed to imp ...

s using the
Sorenson Spark Sorenson Media was an American software company specializing in video encoding technology. Established in December 1995 as Sorenson Vision, the company developed technology which was licensed and ultimately acquired from Utah State University. Th ...
codec (a variant of H.263), with mono MP3 audio. In June 2007, YouTube added an option to watch videos in
3GP 3GP (3GPP file format) is a multimedia Container format (digital), container format defined by the 3GPP, Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) for 3G UMTS multimedia services. It is used on 3G mobile phones but can also be played on some 2G ...
format on mobile phones. In March 2008, a high-quality mode was added, which increased the resolution to 480×360 pixels. In December 2008, 720p high-definition video, HD support was added. At the time of the 720p launch, the YouTube player was changed from a 4:3 aspect ratio (image), aspect ratio to a widescreen 16:9. With this new feature, YouTube began a switchover to H.264/MPEG-4 AVC as its default video compression format. In November 2009, 1080p HD support was added. In July 2010, YouTube announced that it had launched a range of videos in 4K resolution, 4K format, which allows a resolution of up to 4096×3072 pixels. In July 2010, support for 4K resolution was added, with the videos playing at 3840 × 2160 pixels. In June 2015, support for 8K resolution was added, with the videos playing at 7680×4320 pixels. In November 2016, support for High-dynamic-range video, HDR video was added which can be encoded with hybrid log–gamma (HLG) or perceptual quantizer (PQ). HDR video can be encoded with the Rec. 2020 color space. In June 2014, YouTube began to deploy support for high-frame-rate videos up to 60 frames per second (as opposed to 30 before), becoming available for user uploads in October. YouTube stated that this would enhance "motion-intensive" videos, such as video game footage. YouTube videos are available in a range of quality levels. Viewers only indirectly influence the video quality. In the mobile apps, users choose between "Auto", which adjusts resolution based on the internet connection, "High Picture Quality" which will prioritize playing high-quality video, "Data saver" which will sacrifice video quality in favor of low data usage and "Advanced" which lets the user choose a stream resolution. On desktop, users choose between "Auto" and a specific resolution. It is not possible for the viewer to directly choose a higher bitrate (quality) for any selected resolution. Since 2009, viewers have had the ability watch 3D videos. In 2015, the company began natively supporting 360-degree video. Since April 2016, allowed live streaming 360° video, and both normal and 360° video at up to 1440p, and since November 2016 both at at up to 4K (2160p) resolution. Citing the limited number of users who watched more than 90-degrees, the company began supporting an alternative stereoscopic video format known as VR180 which it said was easier to produce. The company now allows users to watch any video using virtual reality headsets. In response to increased viewership during the COVID-19 pandemic, the company temporarily downgraded the quality of its videos. The company developed its own chip, called Argos, to help with encoding higher resolution videos in 2021.

Live streaming

YouTube carried out early experiments with live streaming, including a concert by U2 in 2009, and a question-and-answer session with US President Barack Obama in February 2010. These tests had relied on technology from 3rd-party partners, but in September 2010, YouTube began testing its own live streaming infrastructure. In April 2011, YouTube announced the rollout of ''YouTube Live''. The creation of live streams was initially limited to select partners. It was used for real-time broadcasting of events such as the 2012 Olympics in London. In October 2012, more than 8 million people watched Felix Baumgartner's Red Bull Stratos, jump from the edge of space as a live stream on YouTube. In May 2013, creation of live streams was opened to verified users with at least 1,000 subscribers; in August of that year the number was reduced to 100 subscribers, and in December the limit was removed. In February 2017, live streaming was introduced to the official YouTube mobile app. Live streaming via mobile was initially restricted to users with at least 10,000 subscribers, but as of mid-2017 it has been reduced to 100 subscribers."Create a live stream"
YouTube Help. Retrieved September 22, 2017.
Live streams support HDR, can be up to 4K resolution at 60 fps, and also support 360° video.

User features


On September 13, 2016, YouTube launched a public beta of Community, a social media-based feature that allows users to post text, images (including GIFs), live videos and others in a separate "Community" tab on their channel. Prior to the release, several creators had been consulted to suggest tools Community could incorporate that they would find useful; these
YouTuber A YouTuber, also known as a YouTube celebrity, YouTube content creator, YouTube Creator or YouTube personality, is a type of videographer or entertainer who produces videos for the video-sharing website YouTube, sometimes being supported by lar ...
s included Vlogbrothers, AsapScience, Lilly Singh, MatPat, The Game Theorists, Karmin, The Key of Awesome, The Kloons, Peter Hollens, Rosianna Halse Rojas, Sam Tsui, Threadbanger and Vsauce3. After the feature has been officially released, the ''community post'' feature gets activated automatically for every channel that passes a specific threshold of subscriber counts or already has more subscribers. This threshold was lowered over time, from 10,000 subscribers to 1500 subscribers, to 1000 subscribers, to 500 subscribers. Channels that the community tab becomes enabled for, get their channel discussions (the name before March 2013 "One channel layout" redesign finalization: "channel comments") permanently erased, instead of co-existing or migrating.

Comment system

Most videos enable users to leave comments, and these have attracted attention for the Troll (Internet), negative aspects of both their form and content. In 2006, ''Time (magazine), Time'' praised Web 2.0 for enabling "community and collaboration on a scale never seen before", and added that YouTube "harnesses the stupidity of crowds as well as its wisdom. Some of the comments on YouTube make you weep for the future of humanity just for the spelling alone, never mind the obscenity and the naked hatred". ''The Guardian'' in 2009 described users' comments on YouTube as: ''
The Daily Telegraph ''The Daily Telegraph'', known online and elsewhere as ''The Telegraph'' (), is a national British daily broadsheet A broadsheet is the largest newspaper format and is characterized by long vertical pages, typically of . Other common ne ...

The Daily Telegraph
'' commented in September 2008, that YouTube was "notorious" for "some of the most confrontational and ill-formed Comments section, comment exchanges on the internet", and reported on YouTube Comment Snob, "a new piece of software that blocks rude and illiterate posts". ''The Huffington Post'' noted in April 2012 that finding comments on YouTube that appear "offensive content, offensive, stupid and crass" to the "vast majority" of the people is hardly difficult. Google subsequently implemented a comment system oriented on Google+ on November 6, 2013, that required all YouTube users to use a Google+ account to comment on videos. The stated motivation for the change was giving creators more power to moderate and block comments, thereby addressing frequent criticisms of their quality and tone. The new system restored the ability to include URLs in comments, which had previously been removed due to problems with abuse. In response, YouTube co-founder Jawed Karim posted the question "why the fuck do I need a google+ account to comment on a video?" on his YouTube channel to express his negative opinion of the change. The official YouTube announcement received 20,097 "thumbs down" votes and generated more than 32,000 comments in two days. Writing in the ''Newsday'' blog Silicon Island, Chase Melvin noted that "Google+ is nowhere near as popular a social media network like Facebook, but it's essentially being forced upon millions of YouTube users who don't want to lose their ability to comment on videos" and added that "Discussion forums across the Internet are already bursting with the outcry against the new comment system". In the same article Melvin goes on to say: Later, on July 27, 2015, Google announced in a blog post that it would be removing the requirement to sign up to a Google+ account to post comments to YouTube. Then on November 3, 2016, YouTube announced a trial scheme which allows the creators of videos to decide whether to approve, hide or report the comments posted on videos based on an algorithm that detects potentially offensive comments. Creators may also choose to keep or delete comments with links or hashtags in order to combat spam. They can also allow other users to moderate their comments. In December 2020, it was reported that YouTube would launch a new feature that will warn users who post a comment that "may be offensive to others."

Content accessibility

YouTube offers users the ability to view its videos on web pages outside their website. Each YouTube video is accompanied by a piece of HTML that can be used to embed it on any page on the Web. This functionality is often used to embed YouTube videos in social networking pages and blogs. Users wishing to post a video discussing, inspired by, or related to another user's video can make a "video response". The eleven character Youtube video identifier (64 possible characters used in each position), allows for a theoretical maximum of 6411 or around 73.8 quintillion (73.8 billion billion) unique ids. YouTube announced that it would remove video responses for being an underused feature on August 27, 2013. Embedding, rating, commenting and response posting can be disabled by the video owner. YouTube does not usually offer a download link for its videos, and intends for them to be viewed through its website interface. A small number of videos can be downloaded as MP4 files. Numerous third-party web sites, applications and browser Plug-in (computing), plug-ins allow users to download YouTube videos. In February 2009, YouTube announced a test service, allowing some partners to offer video downloads for free or for a fee paid through Google Checkout. In June 2012, Google sent cease and desist letters threatening legal action against several websites offering online download and conversion of YouTube videos. In response, Zamzar removed the ability to download YouTube videos from its site. Users retain copyright of their own work under the default Standard YouTube License, but have the option to grant certain usage rights under any public copyright license they choose. Since July 2012, it has been possible to select a Creative Commons attribution license as the default, allowing other users to reuse and remix the material.


Most modern smartphones are capable of accessing YouTube videos, either within an application or through an optimized website. YouTube Mobile was launched in June 2007, using Real Time Streaming Protocol, RTSP streaming for the video. Not all of YouTube's videos are available on the mobile version of the site. Since June 2007, YouTube's videos have been available for viewing on a range of Apple Inc., Apple products. This required YouTube's content to be transcoded into Apple's preferred video standard, H.264/MPEG-4 AVC, H.264, a process that took several months. YouTube videos can be viewed on devices including Apple TV, iPod Touch and the iPhone. The mobile version of the site was relaunched based on
HTML5 HTML5 is a markup language #REDIRECT Markup language In computer text processing, a markup language is a system for annotation, annotating a document in a way that is Syntax (logic), syntactically distinguishable from the text, meaning when ...

in July 2010, avoiding the need to use Adobe Flash Player and optimized for use with touch screen controls. The mobile version is also available as an app for the Android platform. In September 2012, YouTube launched its first app for the iPhone, following the decision to drop YouTube as one of the preloaded apps in the iPhone 5 and iOS 6 operating system. According to GlobalWebIndex, YouTube was used by 35% of smartphone users between April and June 2013, making it the third-most used app. A TiVo service update in July 2008 allowed the system to search and play YouTube videos. In January 2009, YouTube launched "YouTube for TV", a version of the website tailored for set-top boxes and other TV-based media devices with web browsers, initially allowing its videos to be viewed on the PlayStation 3 and Wii video game consoles. During the month of June that same year, YouTube XL was introduced, which has a simplified interface designed for viewing on a standard television screen. YouTube is also available as an app on Xbox Live. On November 15, 2012, Google launched an official app for the Wii, allowing users to watch YouTube videos from the Wii channel. An app was available for Wii U and Nintendo 3DS, but was discontinued in August 2019. Videos can also be viewed on the Internet Browser (Wii U), Wii U Internet Browser using HTML5. Google made YouTube available on the
Roku Roku ( ) is a brand of hardware s manufactured by American company They offer access to content from various online services. The first Roku model, developed in collaboration with , was introduced in May 2008. Roku devices have been conside ...

player on December 17, 2013, and, in October 2014, the Sony PlayStation 4. YouTube launched as a downloadable app for the Nintendo Switch in November 2018.

International and localization

On June 19, 2007, Google CEO Eric Schmidt appeared in Paris to launch the new Internationalization and localization, localization system. The interface of the website is available with localized versions in 104 countries, one territory (Hong Kong) and a worldwide version. The YouTube interface suggests which local version should be chosen based on the IP address of the user. In some cases, the message "This video is not available in your country" may appear because of copyright restrictions or inappropriate content. The interface of the YouTube website is available in 76 language versions, including Amharic, Albanian, Armenian, Burmese, Khmer, Kyrgyz, Laotian, Mongolian, Persian and Uzbek, which do not have local channel versions. Access to YouTube was blocked in Turkey between 2008 and 2010, following controversy over the posting of videos deemed insulting to Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and some material offensive to Muslims. In October 2012, a local version of YouTube was launched in Turkey, with the domain youtube.com.tr. The local version is subject to the content regulations found in Turkish law. In March 2009, a dispute between YouTube and the British royalty collection agency PRS for Music led to premium music videos being blocked for YouTube users in the United Kingdom. The removal of videos posted by the major record companies occurred after failure to reach an agreement on a licensing deal. The dispute was resolved in September 2009. In April 2009, a similar dispute led to the removal of premium music videos for users in Germany.


In January 2012, it was estimated that visitors to YouTube spent an average of 15 minutes a day on the site, in contrast to the four or five hours a day spent by a typical US citizen watching television. In 2017, viewers on average watched YouTube on mobile devices for more than an hour every day. In December 2012, two billion views were removed from the view counts of Universal and Sony Music Entertainment, Sony music videos on YouTube, prompting a claim by ''The Daily Dot'' that the views had been deleted due to a violation of the site's terms of service, which ban the use of automated processes to inflate view counts. This was disputed by ''Billboard'', which said that the two billion views had been moved to Vevo, since the videos were no longer active on YouTube. On August 5, 2015, YouTube patched the formerly notorious behaviour which caused a video's view count to freeze at "301" (later "301+") until the actual count was verified to prevent Click fraud, view count fraud. YouTube view counts once again updated in real time. Since September 2019, subscriber counts are abbreviated. Only three leading digits of channels' subscriber counts are indicated publicly, compromising the function of third-party real-time indicators such as that of Social Blade. Exact counts remain available to channel operators inside YouTube Studio. On November 11, 2021, after testing out this change in March 2021, YouTube announced it would start hiding dislike counts on videos, making them invisible to viewers. The company stated the decision was in response to experiments which confirmed that smaller YouTube creators were more likely to be targeted in dislike brigading and harassment. Creators will still be able to see the number of likes and dislikes in the YouTube Studio dashboard tool, according to YouTube.

Copyright issues

YouTube has faced numerous challenges and criticisms in its attempts to deal with copyright, including the site's first viral video, Lazy Sunday, which had to be taken down, due to copyright concerns. At the time of uploading a video, YouTube users are shown a message asking them not to violate copyright laws. Despite this advice, many unauthorized clips of copyrighted material remain on YouTube. YouTube does not view videos before they are posted online, and it is left to copyright holders to issue a Digital Millennium Copyright Act, DMCA takedown notice pursuant to the terms of the Online Copyright Infringement Liability Limitation Act. Any successful complaint about copyright infringement results in a YouTube copyright strike. Three successful complaints for copyright infringement against a user account will result in the account and all of its uploaded videos being deleted. From 2007 to 2009 organizations including Viacom (2005–present), Viacom, Mediaset, and the English Premier League have filed lawsuits against YouTube, claiming that it has done too little to prevent the uploading of copyrighted material. In August 2008, a US court ruled in ''Lenz v. Universal Music Corp.'' that copyright holders cannot order the removal of an online file without first determining whether the posting reflected fair use of the material. YouTube's owner Google announced in November 2015 that they would help cover the legal cost in select cases where they believe fair use defenses apply. In the 2011 case of ''Smith v. Summit Entertainment LLC'', professional singer Matt Smith sued Summit Entertainment for the wrongful use of copyright takedown notices on YouTube. He asserted seven causes of action, and four were ruled in Smith's favor. In April 2012, a court in Hamburg ruled that YouTube could be held responsible for copyrighted material posted by its users. On November 1, 2016, the dispute with GEMA was resolved, with Google content ID being used to allow advertisements to be added to videos with content protected by GEMA. In April 2013, it was reported that Universal Music Group and YouTube have a contractual agreement that prevents content blocked on YouTube by a request from UMG from being restored, even if the uploader of the video files a DMCA counter-notice. As part of YouTube Music, Universal and YouTube signed an agreement in 2017, which was followed by separate agreements other major labels, which gave the company the right to advertising revenue when its music was played on YouTube. By 2019, creators were having videos taken down or demonetized when Content ID identified even short segments of copyrighted music within a much longer video, with different levels of enforcement depending on the record label. Experts noted that some of these clips said qualified for fair use.

Content ID

In June 2007, YouTube began trials of a system for automatic detection of uploaded videos that infringe copyright. Google CEO Eric Schmidt regarded this system as necessary for resolving lawsuits such as the one from Viacom (2005–present), Viacom, which alleged that YouTube profited from content that it did not have the right to distribute. The system, which was initially called "Video Identification" and later became known as Content ID, creates an ID File for copyrighted audio and video material, and stores it in a database. When a video is uploaded, it is checked against the database, and flags the video as a copyright violation if a match is found.More about Content ID
YouTube. Retrieved December 4, 2011.
When this occurs, the content owner has the choice of blocking the video to make it unviewable, tracking the viewing statistics of the video, or adding advertisements to the video. By 2010, YouTube had "already invested tens of millions of dollars in this technology". In 2011, YouTube described Content ID as "very accurate in finding uploads that look similar to reference files that are of sufficient length and quality to generate an effective ID File". By 2012, Content ID accounted for over a third of the monetized views on YouTube. An independent test in 2009 uploaded multiple versions of the same song to YouTube and concluded that while the system was "surprisingly resilient" in finding copyright violations in the audio tracks of videos, it was not infallible. The use of Content ID to remove material automatically has led to YouTube copyright issues, controversy in some cases, as the videos have not been checked by a human for fair use. If a YouTube user disagrees with a decision by Content ID, it is possible to fill in a form disputing the decision. Before 2016, videos were not monetized until the dispute was resolved. Since April 2016, videos continue to be monetized while the dispute is in progress, and the money goes to whoever won the dispute. Should the uploader want to monetize the video again, they may remove the disputed audio in the "Video Manager". YouTube has cited the effectiveness of Content ID as one of the reasons why the site's rules were modified in December 2010 to allow some users to upload videos of unlimited length.

Moderation and offensive content

YouTube has a set of community guidelines aimed to reduce abuse of the site's features. The uploading of videos containing defamation, pornography, and material encouraging criminal conduct is forbidden by YouTube's "Community Guidelines". Generally prohibited material includes sexually explicit content, videos of animal abuse, shock site, shock videos, content uploaded without the copyright holder's consent, hate speech, spam, and predatory behavior. YouTube relies on its users to flag the content of videos as inappropriate, and a YouTube employee will view a flagged video to determine whether it violates the site's guidelines. Despite the guidelines, YouTube has faced criticism over aspects of its operations, its recommender system, recommendation algorithms perpetuating #Promotion_of_conspiracy_theories_and_fringe_discourse, videos that promote conspiracy theories and falsehoods, hosting videos ostensibly targeting children but containing Elsagate, violent or sexually suggestive content involving popular characters, videos of minors attracting Pedophilia, pedophilic activities in their comment sections, and fluctuating policies on the types of content that is eligible to be monetized with advertising. YouTube contracts companies to hire content moderators, who view content flagged as potentially violating YouTube's content policies and determines if they should be removed. In September 2020, a class-action suit was filed by a former content moderator who reported developing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after an 18-month period on the job. The former content moderator said that she was regularly made to exceed YouTube's stated limited of four hours per day of viewing graphic content. The lawsuit alleges that YouTube's contractors gave little to no training or support for its moderator's mental health, made prospective employees sign NDAs before showing them any examples of content they would see while reviewing, and censored all mention of trauma from its internal forums. It also purports that requests for extremely graphic content to be blurred, reduced in size or made monochrome, per recommendations from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, were rejected by YouTube as not a high priority for the company. To limit the spread of misinformation and fake news via YouTube, it has rolled out a comprehensive policy regarding how to planned to deal with technically manipulated videos. Controversial content has included material relating to Holocaust denial and the Hillsborough disaster, in which 96 football fans from Liverpool were crushed to death in 1989. In July 2008, the Culture and Media Committee of the House of Commons of the United Kingdom stated that it was "unimpressed" with YouTube's system for policing its videos, and argued that "proactive review of content should be standard practice for sites hosting user-generated content". YouTube responded by stating: In October 2010, U.S. Congressman Anthony Weiner urged YouTube to remove from its website videos of imam Anwar al-Awlaki. YouTube pulled some of the videos in November 2010, stating they violated the site's guidelines. In December 2010, YouTube added the ability to flag videos for containing terrorism content. In 2018, YouTube introduced a system that would automatically add information boxes to videos that its algorithms determined may present conspiracy theories and other fake news, filling the infobox with content from Encyclopædia Britannica and Wikipedia as a means to inform users to minimize misinformation propagation without impacting freedom of speech. In the wake of the Notre-Dame de Paris fire on April 15, 2019, several user-uploaded videos of the landmark fire were flagged by YouTube' system automatically with an Encyclopedia Britannica article on the false conspiracy theories around the September 11 attacks. Several users complained to YouTube about this inappropriate connection. YouTube officials apologized for this, stating that their algorithms had misidentified the fire videos and added the information block automatically, and were taking steps to remedy this. Five leading content creators whose channels were based on LGBTQ+ materials filed a federal lawsuit against YouTube in August 2019, alleging that YouTube's algorithms divert discovery away from their channels, impacting their revenue. The plaintiffs claimed that the algorithms discourage content with words like "lesbian" or "gay", which would be predominant in their channels' content, and because of YouTube's near-monopolization of online video services, they are abusing that position.

YouTube as a tool to promote conspiracy theories and far-right content

YouTube has been criticized for using an algorithm that gives great prominence to videos that promote conspiracy theories, falsehoods and incendiary fringe discourse. According to an investigation by ''The Wall Street Journal'', "YouTube's recommendations often lead users to channels that feature conspiracy theories, partisan viewpoints and misleading videos, even when those users haven't shown interest in such content. When users show a political bias in what they choose to view, YouTube typically recommends videos that echo those biases, often with more-extreme viewpoints." When users search for political or scientific terms, YouTube's search algorithms often give prominence to hoaxes and conspiracy theories. After YouTube drew controversy for giving top billing to videos promoting falsehoods and conspiracy when people made breaking-news queries during the 2017 Las Vegas shooting, YouTube changed its algorithm to give greater prominence to mainstream media sources. In 2018, it was reported that YouTube was again promoting fringe content about breaking news, giving great prominence to conspiracy videos about Anthony Bourdain's death. In 2017, it was revealed that advertisements were being placed on extremist videos, including videos by rape apologists, anti-Semites, and hate preachers who received ad payouts. After firms started to stop advertising on YouTube in the wake of this reporting, YouTube apologized and said that it would give firms greater control over where ads got placed. Alex Jones, known for right-wing conspiracy theories, had built a massive audience on YouTube. YouTube drew criticism in 2018 when it removed a video from Media Matters compiling offensive statements made by Jones, stating that it violated its policies on "harassment and bullying". On August 6, 2018, however, YouTube removed Alex Jones' YouTube page following a content violation. University of North Carolina professor Zeynep Tufekci has referred to YouTube as "The Great Radicalizer", saying "YouTube may be one of the most powerful radicalizing instruments of the 21st century." Jonathan Albright of the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University described YouTube as a "conspiracy ecosystem". In January 2019, YouTube said that it had introduced a new policy starting in the United States intended to stop recommending videos containing "content that could misinform users in harmful ways." YouTube gave Modern flat Earth societies, flat earth theories, miracle cures, and 9/11 Truth movement, 9/11 trutherism as examples. Efforts within YouTube engineering to stop recommending borderline extremist videos falling just short of forbidden hate speech, and track their popularity were originally rejected because they could interfere with viewer engagement. In late 2019, the site began implementing measures directed towards "raising authoritative content and reducing borderline content and harmful misinformation." In a July 2019 study based on ten YouTube searches using the Tor Browser related to climate and climate change, the majority of videos were videos that communicated views contrary to the scientific consensus on climate change. A 2019 BBC investigation of YouTube searches in ten different languages found that YouTube's algorithm promoted health misinformation, including fake cancer cures. In Brazil, YouTube has been linked to pushing pseudoscientific misinformation on health matters, as well as elevated far-right fringe discourse and conspiracy theories. In the Philippines, numerous channels such as "Showbiz Fanaticz," "Robin Sweet Showbiz," and "PH BREAKING NEWS," each with at least 100,000 subscribers, have been proven to be spreading misinformation related to political figures ahead of the 2022 Philippine general election, 2022 Philippine elections.

Use among white supremacists

Before 2019, YouTube has taken steps to remove specific videos or channels related to Supremacism, supremacist content that had violated its acceptable use policies but otherwise did not have site-wide policies against hate speech. In the wake of the March 2019 Christchurch mosque attacks, YouTube and other sites like Facebook and Twitter that allowed user-submitted content drew criticism for doing little to moderate and control the spread of hate speech, which was considered to be a factor in the rationale for the attacks. These platforms were pressured to remove such content, but in an interview with ''The New York Times'', YouTube's chief product officer Neal Mohan said that unlike content such as ISIS videos which take a particular format and thus easy to detect through computer-aided algorithms, general hate speech was more difficult to recognize and handle, and thus could not readily take action to remove without human interaction. YouTube joined an initiative led by France and New Zealand with other countries and tech companies in May 2019 to develop tools to be used to block online hate speech and to develop regulations, to be implemented at the national level, to be levied against technology firms that failed to take steps to remove such speech, though the United States declined to participate. Subsequently, on June 5, 2019, YouTube announced a major change to its terms of service, "specifically prohibiting videos alleging that a group is superior in order to justify discrimination, segregation or exclusion based on qualities like age, gender, race, caste, religion, sexual orientation or veteran status." YouTube identified specific examples of such videos as those that "promote or glorify Nazi ideology, which is inherently discriminatory". YouTube further stated it would "remove content denying that well-documented violent events, like the Holocaust or the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary, took place." In June 2020, YouTube banned several channels associated with white supremacy, including those of Stefan Molyneux, David Duke, and Richard B. Spencer, asserting these channels violated their policies on hate speech. The ban occurred the same day that Reddit announced the ban on several hate speech sub-forums including r/The_Donald.

Handling of COVID-19 pandemic and other misinformation

Following the dissemination via YouTube of misinformation related to the COVID-19 pandemic that 5G communications technology was responsible for the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 which led to multiple 5G towers in the United Kingdom being attacked by arsonists, YouTube removed all such videos linking 5G and the coronavirus in this manner. YouTube extended this policy in September 2021 to cover videos disseminating misinformation related to any vaccine, including those long approved against measles or Hepatitis B, that had received approval from local health authorities or the World Health Organization. The platform removed the accounts of anti-vaccine campaigners such as Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Joseph Mercola at this time. Two accounts linked to RT Deutsch, the German channel of the Russian RT (TV network), RT network were removed as well for breaching YouTube's policies. Google and YouTube implemented policies in October 2021 to deny monetization or revenue to advertisers or content creators that promoted climate change denial, which "includes content referring to climate change as a hoax or a scam, claims denying that long-term trends show the global climate is warming, and claims denying that greenhouse gas emissions or human activity contribute to climate change."

Child safety and wellbeing

Leading into 2017, there was a significant increase in the number of videos related to children, coupled between the popularity of parents vlogging their family's activities, and previous content creators moving away from content that often was criticized or demonetized into family-friendly material. In 2017, YouTube reported that time watching family vloggers had increased by 90%. However, with the increase in videos featuring children, the site began to face several controversies related to Child protection, child safety. During Q2 2017, the owners of popular channel FamilyOFive, which featured themselves playing "pranks" on their children, were accused of child abuse. Their videos were eventually deleted, and two of their children were removed from their custody. A similar case happened in 2019 when the owners of the channel Fantastic Adventures scandal, Fantastic Adventures was accused of abusing her adopted children. Her videos would later be deleted. Later that year, YouTube came under criticism for showing inappropriate videos targeted at children and often featuring popular characters in violent, sexual or otherwise disturbing situations, many of which appeared on
YouTube Kids YouTube Kids is an American video app and website for kids developed by YouTube YouTube is an American and owned by . It was launched on February 14, 2005 by , , and . It is the website, right after Google itself. YouTube has more tha ...
and attracted millions of views. The term "Elsagate" was coined on the Internet and then used by various news outlets to refer to this controversy.Sapna Maheshwari
On YouTube Kids, Startling Videos Slip Past Filters
''The New York Times'', November 4, 2017
Dani Di Placido
YouTube's "Elsagate" Illuminates The Unintended Horrors Of The Digital Age
''Forbes (magazine), Forbes'', November 28, 2017
On November 11, 2017, YouTube announced it was strengthening site security to protect children from unsuitable content. Later that month, the company started to mass delete videos and channels that made improper use of family-friendly characters. As part of a broader concern regarding child safety on YouTube, the wave of deletions also targeted channels that showed children taking part in inappropriate or dangerous activities under the guidance of adults. Most notably, the company removed ''Toy Freaks'', a channel with over 8.5 million subscribers, that featured a father and his two daughters in odd and upsetting situations.Todd Spangler
YouTube Terminates Toy Freaks Channel Amid Broader Crackdown on Disturbing Kids' Content
''Variety (magazine), Variety'', November 17, 2017
According to analytics specialist SocialBlade, it earned up to £8.7 million annually prior to its deletion. Even for content that appears to be aimed at children and appears to contain only child-friendly content, YouTube's system allows for anonymity of who uploads these videos. These questions have been raised in the past, as YouTube has had to remove channels with children's content which, after becoming popular, then suddenly include inappropriate content masked as children's content. Alternative, some of the most-watched children's programming on YouTube comes from channels that have no identifiable owners, raising concerns of intent and purpose. One channel that had been of concern was "Cocomelon – Nursery Rhymes, Cocomelon" which provided numerous mass-produced animated videos aimed at children. Up through 2019, it had drawn up to a month in ad revenue and was one of the largest kid-friendly channels on YouTube before 2020. Ownership of Cocomelon was unclear outside of its ties to "Treasure Studio", itself an unknown entity, raising questions as to the channel's purpose, but ''Bloomberg News'' had been able to confirm and interview the small team of American owners in February 2020 regarding "Cocomelon", who stated their goal for the channel was to simply entertain children, wanting to keep to themselves to avoid attention from outside investors. The anonymity of such channel raise concerns because of the lack of knowledge of what purpose they are trying to serve. The difficulty to identify who operates these channels "adds to the lack of accountability", according to Josh Golin of the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, and educational consultant Renée Chernow-O'Leary found the videos were designed to entertain with no intent to educate, all leading to both critics and parents to be concerned for their children becoming too enraptured by the content from these channels. Content creators that earnestly make kid-friendly videos have found it difficult to compete with larger channels like ChuChu TV, unable to produce content at the same rate as these large channels, and lack the same means of being promoted through YouTube's recommendation algorithms that the larger animated channel networks have shared. In January 2019, YouTube officially banned videos containing "challenges that encourage acts that have an inherent risk of severe physical harm" (such as, for example, the Consumption of Tide Pods, Tide Pod Challenge) and videos featuring pranks that "make victims believe they're in physical danger" or cause emotional distress in children.

Sexualization of children and pedophilia

Also in November 2017, it was revealed in the media that many videos featuring children—often uploaded by the minors themselves, and showing innocent content such as the children playing with toys or performing gymnastics—were attracting comments from Pedophilia, pedophiles with predators finding the videos through private YouTube playlists or typing in certain keywords in Russian. Other child-centric videos originally uploaded to YouTube began propagating on the dark web, and uploaded or embedded onto forums known to be used by pedophiles. As a result of the controversy, which added to the concern about "Elsagate", several major advertisers whose ads had been running against such videos froze spending on YouTube. In December 2018, ''The Times'' found more than 100 grooming cases in which children were manipulated into sexually implicit behavior (such as taking off clothes, adopting overtly sexual poses and touching other children inappropriately) by strangers. After a reporter flagged the videos in question, half of them were removed, and the rest were removed after ''The Times'' contacted YouTube's PR department. In February 2019, YouTube vlogger Matt Watson identified a "wormhole" that would cause the YouTube recommendation algorithm to draw users into this type of video content, and make all of that user's recommended content feature only these types of videos. Most of these videos had comments from sexual predators commenting with timestamps of when the children were shown in compromising positions or otherwise making indecent remarks. In some cases, other users had re-uploaded the video in unlisted form but with incoming links from other videos, and then monetized these, propagating this network. In the wake of the controversy, the service reported that they had deleted over 400 channels and tens of millions of comments, and reported the offending users to law enforcement and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. A spokesperson explained that "any content—including comments—that endangers minors is abhorrent and we have clear policies prohibiting this on YouTube. There's more to be done, and we continue to work to improve and catch abuse more quickly." Despite these measures, AT&T,
Disney The Walt Disney Company, commonly known as Disney (), is an American diversified multinational mass media and entertainment conglomerate headquartered at the Walt Disney Studios complex in Burbank, California California is a U.S. st ...
, Dr. Oetker, Epic Games, and Nestlé all pulled their advertising from YouTube. Subsequently, YouTube began to demonetize and block advertising on the types of videos that have drawn these predatory comments. The service explained that this was a temporary measure while they explore other methods to eliminate the problem. YouTube also began to flag channels that predominantly feature children, and preemptively disable their comments sections. "Trusted partners" can request that comments be re-enabled, but the channel will then become responsible for moderating comments. These actions mainly target videos of toddlers, but videos of older children and teenagers may be protected as well if they contain actions that can be interpreted as sexual, such as gymnastics. YouTube stated it was also working on a better system to remove comments on other channels that matched the style of child predators. A related attempt to algorithmically flag videos containing references to the string "CP" (an abbreviation of child pornography) resulted in some prominent false positives involving unrelated topics using the same abbreviation, including videos related to the mobile video game ''Pokémon Go'' (which uses "CP" as an abbreviation of the statistic "Combat Power"), and ''Club Penguin''. YouTube apologized for the errors and reinstated the affected videos. Separately, online trolls have attempted to have videos flagged for takedown or removal by commenting with statements similar to what the child predators had said; this activity became an issue during the PewDiePie vs T-Series rivalry in early 2019. YouTube stated they do not take action on any video with these comments but those that they have flagged that are likely to draw child predator activity. In June 2019, ''The New York Times'' cited researchers who found that users who watched erotic videos could be recommended seemingly innocuous videos of children. As a result, Senator Josh Hawley stated plans to introduce federal legislation that would ban YouTube and other video sharing sites from including videos that predominantly feature minors as "recommended" videos, excluding those that were "professionally produced", such as videos of televised talent shows. YouTube has suggested potential plans to remove all videos featuring children from the main YouTube site and transferring them to the
YouTube Kids YouTube Kids is an American video app and website for kids developed by YouTube YouTube is an American and owned by . It was launched on February 14, 2005 by , , and . It is the website, right after Google itself. YouTube has more tha ...
site where they would have stronger controls over the recommendation system, as well as other major changes on the main YouTube site to the recommended feature and autoplay system.

April Fools gags

YouTube featured an April Fools' Day, April Fools prank on the site on April 1 of every year from 2008 to 2016. In 2008, all links to videos on the main page were redirected to Rick Astley's music video "Never Gonna Give You Up", a prank known as "rickrolling". The next year, when clicking on a video on the main page, the whole page turned upside down, which YouTube claimed was a "new layout". In 2010, YouTube temporarily released a "TEXTp" mode which rendered video imagery into ASCII art letters "in order to reduce bandwidth costs by $1 per second." The next year, the site celebrated its "100th anniversary" with a range of sepia-toned silent, early 1900s-style films, including a parody of Keyboard Cat. In 2012, clicking on the image of a DVD next to the site logo led to a video about a purported option to order every YouTube video for home delivery on DVD. In 2013, YouTube teamed up with satirical newspaper company ''The Onion'' to claim in an uploaded video that the video-sharing website was launched as a contest which had finally come to an end, and would shut down for ten years before being re-launched in 2023, featuring only the winning video. The video starred several Internet celebrity, YouTube celebrities, including Antoine Dodson. A video of two presenters announcing the nominated videos streamed live for 12 hours. In 2014, YouTube announced that it was responsible for the creation of all viral video trends, and revealed previews of upcoming trends, such as "Clocking", "Kissing Dad", and "Glub Glub Water Dance". The next year, YouTube added a music button to the video bar that played samples from "Sandstorm (instrumental), Sandstorm" by Darude. In 2016, YouTube introduced an option to watch every video on the platform in 360-degree mode with Snoop Dogg.


YouTube Community

In September 2016, YouTube announced the launch of its own social networking feature named YouTube Community. Only users with over 500 subscribers have access to this. Community posts can include images, GIFs, text and video. YouTube Go is an Android (operating system), Android app aimed at making YouTube easier to access on mobile devices in emerging markets. It is distinct from the company's main Android app and allows videos to be downloaded and shared with other users. It also allows users to preview videos, share downloaded videos through Bluetooth, and offers more options for mobile data control and Display resolution, video resolution. YouTube announced the project in September 2016 at an event in India. It was launched in India in February 2017, and expanded in November 2017 to 14 other countries, including Nigeria, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, the Philippines, Kenya, and South Africa. It was rolled out in 130 countries worldwide, including Brazil, Mexico, Turkey, and Iraq on February 1, 2018. The app is available to around 60% of the world's population.

YouTube Kids

YouTube Kids is an American children's video app developed by YouTube, a subsidiary of
Google Google LLC is an American multinational Multinational may refer to: * Multinational corporation, a corporate organization operating in multiple countries * Multinational force, a military body from multiple countries * Multinational stat ...

. The app was developed in response to parental and government scrutiny on the content available to children. The app provides a version of the service-oriented towards children, with curated selections of content, parental control features, and filtering of videos deemed inappropriate viewing for children aged under 13, 8 or 5 depending on the age grouping chosen. First released on February 15, 2015 as an Android (operating system), Android and iOS
mobile app A mobile application, also referred to as a mobile app or simply an app, is a computer program In imperative programming In computer science, imperative programming is a programming paradigm that uses Statement (computer science), statements t ...
, the app has since been released for LG Electronics, LG, Samsung Electronics, Samsung, and Sony smart TVs, as well as for Android TV. On May 27, 2020, it became available on Apple TV. As of September 2019, the app is available in 69 countries, including Hong Kong and Macau, and one province. YouTube launched a web-based version of YouTube Kids on August 30, 2019.

YouTube Movies

YouTube Movies is a service by YouTube that shows movies via its website. Many of the movies are free to view, with ads.

YouTube Music

On September 28, 2016, YouTube named Lyor Cohen, the co-founder of 300 Entertainment and former Warner Music Group executive, the Global Head of Music. In early 2018, Cohen began hinting at the possible launch of YouTube's new subscription music streaming service, a platform that would compete with other services such as Spotify and Apple Music. On May 22, 2018, the music streaming platform named "YouTube Music" was launched.

YouTube Premium

YouTube Premium (formerly YouTube Red) is YouTube's premium subscription service. It offers advertising-free streaming, access to YouTube Originals, original programming, and background and offline video playback on mobile devices. YouTube Premium was originally announced on November 12, 2014 as "Music Key", a Comparison of on-demand music streaming services, subscription music streaming service, and was intended to integrate with and replace the existing Google Play Music "All Access" service. On October 28, 2015, the service was relaunched as YouTube Red, offering ad-free streaming of all videos and access to exclusive original content. , the service has 1.5 million subscribers, with a further million on a free-trial basis. , the first season of List of YouTube original programming, YouTube Originals had gotten 250 million views in total.

YouTube Shorts

In September 2020, YouTube announced that it would be launching a beta version of a new platform of 15-second videos, similar to
TikTok TikTok, known in China as Douyin (), is a -focused owned by Chinese company . It hosts a variety of short-form user videos, from genres like pranks, stunts, tricks, jokes, dance, and entertainment with durations from 15 seconds to three minut ...
, called YouTube Shorts. The platform was first tested in India but as of March 2021 has expanded to other countries including the United States with videos now able to be up to 1 minute long. The platform is not a standalone app, but is integrated into the main YouTube app. Like TikTok, it gives users access to built-in creative tools, including the possibility of adding licensed music to their videos. The platform had its global beta launch in July 2021.

YouTube Stories

In 2018, YouTube started testing a new feature initially called "YouTube Reels". The feature is nearly identical to Instagram Stories and Snapchat, Snapchat Stories. YouTube later renamed the feature "YouTube Stories". It is only available to creators who have more than 10,000 subscribers and can only be posted/seen in the YouTube mobile app.


Experimental features of YouTube can be accessed in an area of the site named ''TestTube''. For example, in October 2009, a ''comment search'' feature accessible under /comment_search was implemented as part of this program. The feature was removed later. Later the same year, ''YouTube Feather'' was introduced as a lightweight alternative website for countries with limited internet speeds.

YouTube TV

On February 28, 2017, in a press announcement held at YouTube Space Los Angeles, YouTube announced YouTube TV, an over-the-top content, over-the-top multichannel video programming distributor, MVPD-style subscription service that would be available for United States customers at a price of US$35 per month. Initially launching in five major markets (New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia and
San Francisco San Francisco (; Spanish language, Spanish for "Francis of Assisi, Saint Francis"), officially the City and County of San Francisco, is a cultural, commercial, and financial center in the U.S. state of California. Located in Northern Califo ...

San Francisco
) on April 5, 2017, the service offers live streams of programming from the five major broadcast networks (American Broadcasting Company, ABC, CBS, The CW, Fox Broadcasting Company, Fox and NBC), as well as approximately 40 cable channels owned by the corporate parents of those networks, The Walt Disney Company, CBS Corporation, 21st Century Fox,
NBCUniversal NBCUniversal Media, LLC, traded as NBCUniversal (formerly known as NBC Universal, Inc. from 2004 to 2011), is an American multinational Multinational may refer to: * Multinational corporation, a corporate organization operating in multiple countr ...
and Turner Broadcasting System (including among others Bravo (U.S. TV network), Bravo, USA Network, Syfy, Disney Channel, CNN, Cartoon Network, E!, Fox Sports 1, Freeform (TV network), Freeform, FX (TV network), FX and ESPN). Subscribers can also receive Showtime (TV network), Showtime and Fox Soccer Plus as optional add-ons for an extra fee, and can access YouTube Premium original content.

Social impact

Both private individuals and large production corporations have used YouTube to grow audiences. Indie creators have built grassroots followings numbering in the thousands at very little cost or effort, while mass retail and radio promotion proved problematic. Concurrently, old media celebrities moved into the website at the invitation of a YouTube management that witnessed early content creators accruing substantial followings and perceived audience sizes potentially larger than that attainable by television. While YouTube's revenue-sharing "Partner Program" made it possible to earn a substantial living as a video producer—its top five hundred partners each earning more than $100,000 annually and its ten highest-earning channels grossing from $2.5 million to $12 million—in 2012 Complete Music Update, CMU business editor characterized YouTube as "a free-to-use ... promotional platform for the music labels." In 2013 ''Forbes'' Katheryn Thayer asserted that digital-era artists' work must not only be of high quality, but must elicit reactions on the YouTube platform and social media. Videos of the 2.5% of artists categorized as "mega", "mainstream" and "mid-sized" received 90.3% of the relevant views on YouTube and Vevo in that year. "Developing" artists 6.9%; "Undiscovered" artists 2.8%. By early 2013, ''Billboard (magazine), Billboard'' had announced that it was factoring YouTube streaming data into calculation of the Billboard Hot 100, ''Billboard'' Hot 100 and related genre charts. Observing that face-to-face communication of the type that online videos convey has been "fine-tuned by millions of years of evolution," TED (conference), TED curator Chris Anderson (entrepreneur), Chris Anderson referred to several YouTube contributors and asserted that "what Johannes Gutenberg, Gutenberg did for writing, online video can now do for face-to-face communication." (click on "Show transcript" tab) • Correspondin
YouTube video
from official TED channel was titled "How YouTube is driving innovation."
Anderson asserted that it is not far-fetched to say that online video will dramatically accelerate scientific advance, and that video contributors may be about to launch "the biggest learning cycle in human history." In education, for example, the Khan Academy grew from YouTube video tutoring sessions for founder Salman Khan's cousin into what ''Forbes'' Michael Noer (editor), Michael Noer called "the largest school in the world," with technology poised to disruptive innovation, disrupt how people learn. YouTube was awarded a 2008 George Foster Peabody Award, the website being described as a Speakers' Corner that "both embodies and promotes democracy." ''The Washington Post'' reported that a disproportionate share of YouTube's most subscribed channels feature minorities, contrasting with mainstream television in which the stars are largely white. A Pew Research Center study reported the development of "visual journalism," in which citizen eyewitnesses and established news organizations share in content creation. The study also concluded that YouTube was becoming an important platform by which people acquire news. YouTube has enabled people to more directly engage with government, such as in the CNN/YouTube presidential debates (2007) in which ordinary people submitted questions to U.S. presidential candidates via YouTube video, with a techPresident co-founder saying that Internet video was changing the political landscape. Describing the Arab Spring (2010–2012), sociologist Philip N. Howard quoted an activist's succinct description that organizing the political unrest involved using "Facebook to schedule the protests, Twitter to coordinate, and YouTube to tell the world." In 2012, more than a third of the U.S. Senate introduced a resolution condemning Joseph Kony 16 days after the "Kony 2012" video was posted to YouTube, with resolution co-sponsor Senator Lindsey Graham remarking that the video "will do more to lead to (Kony's) demise than all other action combined." Conversely, YouTube has also allowed government to more easily engage with citizens, the White House's official YouTube channel being the seventh top news organization producer on YouTube in 2012 and in 2013 a healthcare exchange commissioned Obama impersonator Iman Crosson's YouTube music video spoof to encourage young Americans to enroll in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Affordable Care Act (Obamacare)-compliant health insurance. In February 2014, U.S. President Obama held a meeting at the White House with leading YouTube content creators to not only promote awareness of Obamacare but more generally to develop ways for government to better connect with the "YouTube Generation." Whereas YouTube's inherent ability to allow presidents to directly connect with average citizens was noted, the YouTube content creators' new media savvy was perceived necessary to better cope with the website's distracting content and fickle audience. Some YouTube videos have themselves had a direct effect on world events, such as ''Innocence of Muslims'' (2012) which spurred Reactions to Innocence of Muslims, protests and related anti-American violence internationally. TED curator Chris Anderson described a phenomenon by which geographically distributed individuals in a certain field share their independently developed skills in YouTube videos, thus challenging others to improve their own skills, and spurring invention and evolution in that field. Journalist Virginia Heffernan stated in ''The New York Times'' that such videos have "surprising implications" for the dissemination of culture and even the future of classical music. A 2017 ''New York Times Magazine'' article posited that YouTube had become "the new Conservative talk radio, talk radio" for the Far-right politics, far right. Almost a year before YouTube's January 2019 announcement that it would begin a "gradual change" of "reducing Recommender system, recommendations of borderline content and content that could misinform users in harmful ways", Zeynep Tufekci had written in ''The New York Times'' that, "(g)iven its billion or so users, YouTube may be one of the most powerful radicalizing instruments of the 21st century". Under YouTube's changes to its recommendation engine, the most recommended channel evolved from conspiracy theorist Alex Jones (2016) to Fox News (2019). ''The Legion of Extraordinary Dancers'' and the YouTube Symphony Orchestra selected their membership based on individual video performances. Further, the cybercollaboration charity video "We Are the World 25 for Haiti (YouTube edition)" was formed by mixing performances of 57 globally distributed singers into a single musical work, Als
CNN Saturday Morning News

with ''The Tokyo Times'' noting the "We Pray for You" YouTube cyber-collaboration video as an example of a trend to use crowdsourcing for charitable purposes. The anti-bullying It Gets Better Project expanded from a single YouTube video directed to discouraged or Suicide among LGBT youth, suicidal LGBT teens, that within two months drew video responses from hundreds including U.S. President Barack Obama, Vice President Biden, White House staff, and several cabinet secretaries. Similarly, in response to fifteen-year-old Suicide of Amanda Todd, Amanda Todd's video "My story: Struggling, bullying, suicide, self-harm," legislative action was undertaken almost immediately after her suicide to study the prevalence of bullying and form a national anti-bullying strategy. In May 2018, after London Metropolitan Police claimed that UK drill, drill music videos glamorizing violence gave rise to Gang#Gang violence, gang violence, YouTube deleted 30 videos.


Prior to 2020, Google did not provide detailed figures for YouTube's running costs, and YouTube's revenues in 2007 were noted as "materiality (auditing), not material" in a regulatory filing. In June 2008, a ''Forbes'' magazine article projected the 2008 revenue at $200 million, noting progress in advertising sales. In 2012, YouTube's revenue from its ads program was estimated at $3.7 billion. In 2013 it nearly doubled and estimated to hit $5.6 billion according to eMarketer, while others estimated $4.7 billion. The vast majority of videos on YouTube are free to view and supported by advertising. In May 2013, YouTube introduced a trial scheme of 53 subscription channels with prices ranging from $0.99 to $6.99 a month. The move was seen as an attempt to compete with other providers of online subscription services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Amazon Prime, and Hulu. Google first published exact revenue numbers for YouTube in February 2020 as part of Alphabet's 2019 financial report. According to Google, YouTube had made in ad revenue in 2019, in contrast to in 2017 and in 2018. YouTube's revenues made up nearly 10% of the total Alphabet revenue in 2019. These revenues accounted for approximately 20 million subscribers combined between YouTube Premium and YouTube Music subscriptions, and 2 million subscribers to YouTube TV. YouTube had $19.8 billion in revenue in 2020.

Partnership with corporations

YouTube entered into a marketing and advertising partnership with NBC in June 2006. In March 2007, it struck a deal with BBC for three channels with BBC content, one for news and two for entertainment. In November 2008, YouTube reached an agreement with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, MGM, Lions Gate Entertainment, and CBS, allowing the companies to post full-length films and television episodes on the site, accompanied by advertisements in a section for U.S. viewers called "Shows". The move was intended to create competition with websites such as Hulu, which features material from NBC, Fox Broadcasting Company, Fox, and Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, Disney. In November 2009, YouTube launched a version of "Shows" available to UK viewers, offering around 4,000 full-length shows from more than 60 partners. In January 2010, YouTube introduced an online film rentals service, which is only available to users in the United States, Canada, and the UK as of 2010. The service offers over 6,000 films.

2017 advertiser boycott

In March 2017, the government of the United Kingdom pulled its advertising campaigns from YouTube, after reports that its ads had appeared on videos containing extremist content. The government demanded assurances that its advertising would "be delivered safely and appropriately". ''The Guardian'' newspaper, as well as other major British and U.S. brands, similarly suspended their advertising on YouTube in response to their advertising appearing near offensive content. Google stated that it had "begun an extensive review of our advertising policies and have made a public commitment to put in place changes that give brands more control over where their ads appear". In early April 2017, the YouTube channel h3h3Productions presented evidence claiming that a ''Wall Street Journal'' article had fabricated screenshots showing major brand advertising on an offensive video containing Johnny Rebel (singer), Johnny Rebel music overlaid on a Chief Keef music video, citing that the video itself had not earned any ad revenue for the uploader. The video was retracted after it was found that the ads had been triggered by the use of copyrighted content in the video. On April 6, 2017, YouTube announced that to "ensure revenue only flows to creators who are playing by the rules", it would change its practices to require that a channel undergo a policy compliance review, and have at least 10,000-lifetime views, before they may join the Partner Program.

YouTuber earnings

In May 2007, YouTube launched its Partner Program (YPP), a system based on AdSense which allows the uploader of the video to share the revenue produced by advertising on the site. YouTube typically takes 45 percent of the advertising revenue from videos in the Partner Program, with 55 percent going to the uploader. There are over a million members of the YouTube Partner Program. According to TubeMogul, in 2013 a pre-roll advertisement on YouTube (one that is shown before the video starts) cost advertisers on average $7.60 per 1000 views. Usually no more than half of the eligible videos have a pre-roll advertisement, due to a lack of interested advertisers. YouTube policies restrict certain forms of content from being included in videos being monetized with advertising, including videos containing violence, strong language, sexual content, "controversial or sensitive subjects and events, including subjects related to war, political conflicts, natural disasters and tragedies, even if graphic imagery is not shown" (unless the content is "usually newsworthy or comedic and the creator's intent is to inform or entertain"), and videos whose user comments contain "inappropriate" content. In 2013, YouTube introduced an option for channels with at least a thousand subscribers to require a paid subscription in order for viewers to watch videos. In April 2017, YouTube set an eligibility requirement of 10,000 lifetime views for a paid subscription. On January 16, 2018, the eligibility requirement for monetization was changed to 4,000 hours of watch-time within the past 12 months and 1,000 subscribers. The move was seen as an attempt to ensure that videos being monetized did not lead to controversy, but was criticized for penalizing smaller YouTube channels. YouTube Play Buttons, a part of the YouTube Creator Rewards, are a recognition by YouTube of its most popular channels. The trophies made of nickel plated copper-nickel alloy, golden plated brass, silver plated metal, ruby, and red tinted crystal glass are given to channels with at least one hundred thousand, a million, ten million, fifty million subscribers, and one hundred million subscribers, respectively. YouTube's policies on "Censorship by Google#Advertiser-friendly content, advertiser-friendly content" restrict what may be incorporated into videos being monetized; this includes strong violence, language, sexual content, and "controversial or sensitive subjects and events, including subjects related to war, political conflicts, natural disasters and tragedies, even if graphic imagery is not shown", unless the content is "usually newsworthy or comedic and the creator's intent is to inform or entertain". In September 2016, after introducing an enhanced notification system to inform users of these violations, YouTube's policies were criticized by prominent users, including Phillip DeFranco and Vlogbrothers. DeFranco argued that not being able to earn advertising revenue on such videos was "censorship by a different name". A YouTube spokesperson stated that while the policy itself was not new, the service had "improved the notification and appeal process to ensure better communication to our creators". ''Boing Boing'' reported in 2019 that LGBT keywords resulted in demonetization. As of November 2020 in the United States and June 2021 worldwide, YouTube reserves the right to monetize any video on the platform, even if their uploader is not a member of the YouTube Partner Program. This will occur on channels whose content is deemed "advertiser-friendly", and all revenue will go directly to Google without any share given to the uploader.

Revenue to copyright holders

The majority of YouTube's advertising revenue goes to the publishers and video producers who hold the rights to their videos; the company retains 45% of the ad revenue. In 2010, it was reported that nearly a third of the videos with advertisements were uploaded without permission of the copyright holders. YouTube gives an option for copyright holders to locate and remove their videos or to have them continue running for revenue. In May 2013, Nintendo began enforcing its copyright ownership and claiming the advertising revenue from video creators who posted screenshots of its games. In February 2015, Nintendo agreed to share the revenue with the video creators through the Nintendo Creators Program. On March 20, 2019, Nintendo announced on Twitter that the company will end the Creators program. Operations for the program ceased on March 20, 2019.

Censorship and bans

YouTube has been censored, filtered, or banned for a variety of reasons, including:"YouTube Censored: A Recent History"
OpenNet Initiative. Retrieved September 23, 2012.
* Limiting public access and exposure to content that may ignite social or political unrest. * Preventing criticism of a ruler (e.g. in North Korea), government (e.g. in Internet censorship in China, China) or its actions (e.g. in Morocco), government officials (e.g. in Turkey and Libya), or religion (e.g. in Pakistan). * Morality-based laws, e.g. in Internet censorship in Iran, Iran. Access to specific videos is sometimes prevented due to copyright and intellectual property protection laws (e.g. Blocking of YouTube videos in Germany, in Germany), violations of hate speech, and preventing access to videos judged inappropriate for youth, which is also done by YouTube with the
YouTube Kids YouTube Kids is an American video app and website for kids developed by YouTube YouTube is an American and owned by . It was launched on February 14, 2005 by , , and . It is the website, right after Google itself. YouTube has more tha ...
app and with "Censorship of YouTube#Censorship of LGBT content in Restricted Mode, restricted mode". Businesses, schools, government agencies, and other private institutions often block social media sites, including YouTube, due to its bandwidth limitations and the site's potential for distraction. , public access to YouTube is blocked in many countries, including China, North Korea, Iran, Syria, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Eritrea, Sudan and South Sudan. In some countries, YouTube is blocked for more limited periods of time such as during periods of unrest, the run-up to an election, or in response to upcoming political anniversaries. In cases where the entire site is banned due to one particular video, YouTube will often agree to remove or limit access to that video in order to restore service. Reports emerged that since October 2019, comments posted with Chinese characters insulting the Chinese Communist Party (wikt:共匪, 共匪 or "communist bandit") or (wikt:五毛, 五毛 or "50 Cent Party", referring to State-sponsored Internet propaganda, state-sponsored commentators) were being automatically deleted within 15 seconds. Specific incidents where YouTube has been blocked include: * Thailand blocked access in April 2007 over a video said to be insulting the Monarchy of Thailand, Thai king. * Morocco blocked access in May 2007, possibly as a result of videos critical of Political status of Western Sahara, Morocco's occupation of Western Sahara. YouTube became accessible again on May 30, 2007, after ''Maroc Telecom'' unofficially announced that the denied access to the website was a mere "technical glitch". * Turkey blocked access between 2008 and 2010 after controversy over videos deemed insulting to Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. In November 2010, a video of the Turkish politician Deniz Baykal caused the site to be blocked again briefly, and the site was threatened with a new shutdown if it did not remove the video. During the two and a half-year block of YouTube, the video-sharing website remained the eighth-most-accessed site in Turkey. In 2014, Turkey blocked the access for the second time, after "a high-level intelligence leak." * Pakistan blocked access on February 23, 2008, because of "offensive material" towards the Islamic faith, including display of the Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons controversy, Danish cartoons of Muhammad. This led to a near global blackout of the YouTube site for around two hours, as the Pakistani block was inadvertently transferred to other countries. On February 26, 2008, the ban was lifted after the website had removed the objectionable content from its servers at the request of the government. Many Pakistanis circumvented the three-day block by using virtual private network software. In May 2010, following the Everybody Draw Mohammed Day, Pakistan again blocked access to YouTube, citing "growing sacrilegious content". The ban was lifted on May 27, 2010, after the website removed the objectionable content from its servers at the request of the government. However, individual videos deemed offensive to Muslims posted on YouTube will continue to be blocked. Pakistan again placed a ban on YouTube in September 2012, after the site refused to remove the film ''Innocence of Muslims'', with the ban still in operation as of September 2013. The ban was lifted in January 2016 after YouTube launched a Pakistan-specific version. * Libya blocked access on January 24, 2010, because of videos that featured demonstrations in the city of Benghazi by families of detainees who were killed in Abu Salim prison in 1996, and videos of family members of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi at parties. The blocking was criticized by Human Rights Watch. In November 2011, after the 2011 Libyan Civil War, Libyan Civil War, YouTube was once again allowed in Libya. * Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Sudan blocked access in September 2012 following Reactions to Innocence of Muslims, controversy over a 14-minute trailer for the film ''Innocence of Muslims'' which had been posted on the site. A court in the southern Russian Republic of Chechnya ruled that ''Innocence of Muslims'' should be banned. In Libya and Egypt, it was blamed for violent protests. YouTube stated: "This video—which is widely available on the Web—is clearly within our guidelines and so will stay on YouTube. However, given the very difficult situation in Libya and Egypt we have temporarily restricted access in both countries."

See also

* Alternative media * BookTube * BreadTube * CNN-YouTube presidential debates * Comparison of video hosting services * List of Internet phenomena * List of most viewed online videos in the first 24 hours * List of online video platforms * List of most-disliked YouTube videos * List of most-liked YouTube videos * List of most-viewed YouTube videos * List of most-subscribed YouTube channels * List of YouTubers * ''Ouellette v. Viacom International Inc.'' * Reply Girls * ''Viacom International Inc. v. YouTube, Inc.'' * YouTube Awards * YouTube Creator Awards * YouTube Instant * YouTube Live * YouTube Multi Channel Network * YouTube Music Awards * YouTube Rewind * YouTube Theater


Further reading

* * * * *

External links

YouTube for Press

YouTube Official Blog

YouTube – Google Developers

Are YouTubers Revolutionizing Entertainment?
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