This can be really frustrating, where we are seeking engagement with channel owners and fellow commenters on YouTube, but we keep finding that our comments get deleted soon after posting, or before we even see them. What’s going on here? Why does YouTube delete your comments? Is it even YouTube deleting the comments? What can we do about it?
The whole issue is a bit murky and complex, but here is a bottom line answer:
As a general rule, YouTube will delete a comment if it contains certain blacklisted words that they consider inappropriate, offensive or harmful. It will also delete comments which it thinks contains a web link, and hold certain comments for moderation by the channel owner if it thinks they might be spam.
In other words, if you are using words or phrases that YouTube doesn’t like, or it thinks you are being spammy, offensive or threatening in your comments, it can be deleted. However, channel owners can also delete comments if they wish, so it might not always be YouTube.
Let’s cover in more detail all the potential reasons a YouTube comment can get deleted, together with sensible fixes where appropriate.
Reason #1 – You Used a Word That YouTube Doesn’t Like
This is probably the most common reason why comments get deleted – they contain words on YouTube’s comments blacklist, leading to it being automatically deleted.
Unfortunately, despite plenty of speculation online, no one knows exactly what this list of banned words is, but it’s most likely to include:
- Swear words
- Politically sensitive words or topics.
- Racially, ethnically or religiously offensive words.
- Anything to do with adult material.
- Some words to do with violence
- Some words to do with terrorism or events.
- Some words to with self harm.
- Naming certain people political, like a certain president of the US from 2017-2021, can sometimes get a comment deleted.
- Any words directly to do with the illness of the last few years (the “V” word) is also at risk of being deleted.
- Check YouTube’s Community Guidelines policy for more on what’s not allowed.
It you do use one of these trigger words, YouTube may not even hold your comment for moderation by the channel owner – they’re just automatically deleted forever.
There are people who have tested this out, using certain trigger words. They keep refreshing the page after posting and often find that the comment is automatically deleted within 20 seconds of posting if it contains one of these words YouTube doesn’t like. See here:
Channel owners are not given a list of these words, so it’s a trial and error process to find out what they are. The key here is to look for consistent patterns, where comments always seem to get automatically deleted if they contain certain words.
You’ll readily see this with swearwords for example; avoid using them or use a censored form of them (use c*ss word instead of cuss word) and see if that enables them to go through.
Reason #2 – YouTube Held Your Comment For Moderation
Related to the last point, if you use words or phrases that triggers the YouTube algorithm and places it into the “likely spam” or “needs approval” category, they will hold the comment in either a “likely spam” or “awaiting moderation” folder for the channel owner, who can then choose whether or not to allow it to be published.
Again it’s hard to determine exactly what triggers this, but here are some reasonable suggestions:
- It contains certain trigger words as covered in the section above (YouTube may hold the comment or delete it altogether; it seems to vary).
- You include links to external websites.
- You include links to other YouTube videos.
- You include contact details (emails, phone number, Whatsapp etc).
- You use certain words that indicate you are trying to promote or sell something, and this includes prices of something like $100 etc. Even if you’re not selling it yourself and are just describing something for readers for their own info, and put prices in there, it can get deleted.
- You use certain words that indicate scamming or deceptive practices.
- There’s a lot of jumbled, nonsensical garbage in the comment.
- There is poor spelling and grammar in the comment.
- See YouTube’s Community Guidelines page for more on things they look out for.
Again this may happen unfairly, when you didn’t mean to post spam, but many creators never even check their “awaiting approval” folders, so you you might never see the comment. As with certain trigger words, see if there’s a pattern in putting certain things in comments that always seems to lead to them getting deleted.
Reason #3 – You Didn’t Leave Spaces Between Sentences
This is another weird way in which the Google algorithm can sometimes be triggered to automatically delete or hold comments. If your comment has multiple sentences, and you fail to put a space after a period before starting the next sentence, YouTube can treat those two words separated by the dot as a web link, and think it’s spam.
Here’s an example of what we mean this:
- Safe comment – “Yeh I love using VPN’s to watch sports. Info for readers though – always go for a paid VPN, those free ones are slow and useless”. This comment should go through no problem, because there’s a space between the two sentences.
- Unsafe comment – “Yeh I love using VPN’s to watch sports.Info for readers though – always go for a paid VPN, those free ones are slow and useless”. These comments often get caught by the algo and held or deleted, because there isn’t a space between sports and info (bolded). YouTube literally thinks you’ve put a link to the sports.Info website (which does exist!), and may hold your comment as spam.
Therefore always put spaces between full stops and your next sentence in comments, so YouTube doesn’t get confused and think you are posting web links when you aren’t. This is an easy mistake to make, and in fairness sometimes they get through anyway, but sometimes they get deleted even if it wasn’t your intention to post a link.
Reason #4 – The Channel Owner Deleted The Comment
This is another possibility that should be taken into account – YouTube didn’t delete the comment, but the channel owner did. In fairness, this is less common than YouTube deleting it, but can still happen if they moderate comments on their channel.
There could be one of several reasons for this:
- It contained swearwords which might have got past the YouTube algorithm, but they don’t want it on the channel.
- Channel owners can also set their own black-words list from within their channel settings, meaning that any comments containing those words automatically gets deleted.
- It contained spammy links and product recommendations, and wasn’t a legitimate comment related to the content of the video.
- It might not have appeared at all because it’s still awaiting moderation by the channel owner (creators can customize their channel comments settings so that some or all comments require approval by them to be published).
- It was offensive towards the creator or other commenters, or just offensive in general, and they don’t want it on their channel.
- It was breaking the law in terms of threatening others or some other comment that goes too far, and they understandably don’t want that on their channel.
- They didn’t agree with the comment (some YouTubers are unfortunately intolerant in this way, and delete anything that doesn’t agree with them. Be respectful with any objections and criticism, but even doing that sometimes they’ll still delete your comment).
- They’ve (fairly or unfairly) marked you down as a “troll” based on your previous comments, and now automatically delete any comment from you.
Avoiding Getting Your Comments Deleted On YouTube
Here are some common sense tips to lessen the chance of your YouTube comments being deleted:
- Don’t use swear words. Either don’t use them or partially censor them with asterisks (*).
- Don’t use any other offensive words.
- Don’t use lots of words directly linked to violence, sex, drugs and other adult themes.
- When talking about politically sensitive or controversial topics, try not to use certain words directly, but “dance around the algorithm” a bit by describing things more indirectly and in a way that doesn’t use the word directly and trigger the algorithm. (eg. “The Orange Man President”, “The scary bug/illness of 2020” etc)
- Don’t post links in your comments, even to other YouTube videos. They tend to get deleted if you do.
- Leave spaces between your sentences.
- Don’t post spam in comments.
- Don’t post personal information like contact details or website links in comments.
- Don’t plug or promote things in comments unless you have permission from the channel owner.
- Always be respectful towards channel owners and others in comments. Don’t be racist, sexist, homophobic etc. or otherwise intolerant and hostile. If you’re rude and disrespectful, you deserve to have your comment deleted.
- Never threaten others or promote violence in comments.
Whether we should even have to do all these linguistic acrobatics to just to be allowed to express ourselves on a video sharing platform is another debate, and I am sympathetic to those who argue this kind of algorithmic restriction is often unacceptable and over-reaching. Perhaps not always, but often.
However, for now, we’re stuck with YouTube as it is, so we have to work around around it’s algorithms by being more careful with certain words and phrases we use, whilst also of course remaining respectful towards others, which is common sense and fair enough.