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YouTube Relaxes Profanity Prohibitions for Monitization

Hot damn! This week YouTube revised their Inappropriate Language ad guidelines to allow more swearing in monetized videos. 

Last November YouTube made the advertiser-friendly guidelines around "Inappropriate Language" much more restrictive. Any profanity in the title, thumbnail, or first seven seconds of the video would prevent the video from being monetized. The exceptions were "damn" and "hell", which would no longer be treated as profanity. 

YouTube apparently got a lot of feedback from creators, and so they have reconsidered, and revised the policy to be more nuanced. 

Here is the current policy: 


  • Censored profanity, including bleeping, muting, or blacking out text.
  • Abbreviated profanity, such as WTF. 
  • Words like "hell" or "damn" in the title or thumbnail.
  • Moderate profanity used throughout the video ("bitch", "douchebag", "asshole", "shit")
  • Most profanity used in music or stand-up comedy content.


  • Strong profanity in the first 7 seconds of the video (such as the f-word).
  • Moderate profanity in the title or thumbnail.
  • "Focal usage" of profanity throughout the video. 
  • Profanity in the title or thumbnail of music or stand-up comedy content.


  • Strong profanity in the title or thumbnail (like the f-word).
  • Any hateful language in the video.

Videos that receive the limited ads yellow icon under the previous policy will be re-reviewed by March 10, and may be fully monetized if they otherwise comply with the advertiser-friendly guidelines.

See the guide to self-certification for more details and examples of what can and cannot be monetized.

There is a good video on the Creator Insider channel, which clearly explains the new policy, how YouTube is listening to creator feedback, and that in the future they will be more transparent about policy changes (as the November change caught a lot of creators by surprise). 

Announcement: Updated "Inappropriate Language" Ad-Friendly Guidelines