At Vimeo, we’ve always celebrated responsible free speech and creative expression. At the same time, we don’t allow people to use our platform to spread hateful ideologies.  Our world is changing, and, as an open video platform with a global community, our guidelines must adapt to reflect these realities. That’s why today we’re announcing a set of new policies that prohibit certain categories of content that can cause material, real-world harms. We’re also taking the opportunity to reinforce our longstanding prohibitions against hate speech. More on this below.

New policies

Beginning today, the following content will not be permitted on Vimeo: 
  1. Content that falsely claims that mass tragedies are hoaxes
  2. Content that depicts or encourages self-harm 
  3. Content that perpetuates false or misleading claims about vaccine safety 
Although these categories span very different topics, they all have one thing in common: They have a strong potential to cause harm. Content that falsely claims that vaccines are unsafe is at the forefront of an unfolding public health crisis. Videos that insinuate that mass tragedies, like Sandy Hook, are hoaxes, inherently defame victims and re-traumatize survivors. And content that depicts or encourages self-harm — including videos that encourage people to participate in dangerous “challenges”— can lead vulnerable people to take harmful, potentially irrevocable, actions. Starting today, we are providing a 30-day grace period for documentaries that contravene our policy on vaccination content so that creators can voluntarily remove those videos. At the end of the grace period, we will begin removing anti-vaccination videos that haven’t been voluntarily removed. Videos that violate the other two prohibitions will not be given any grace period.

Hateful and discriminatory speech

Vimeo has always been an open platform that supports narratives that celebrate all cultures, races, religions, and identities. At the same time, we’ve long banned content that is “hateful, defamatory, or discriminatory or incites hatred against any individual or group.” We are not making any changes to this policy, but are taking the opportunity to explain how we enforce this prohibition. Content violates our anti-hate and anti-discrimination policy when it (1) is directed to a group based upon personal characteristics, such as race, religion, gender, and sexual orientation; (2) sends a message of inferiority; and (3) would be considered extremely offensive to a reasonable person. Our definition covers, for example, videos that assert harmful stereotypes, claim racial superiority of one group over another, or suggest that certain groups of people of a particular religion are involved in far-flung conspiracies. 

Vimeo’s moderation approach

Our rules and processes are designed to be applied fairly, consistently and transparently. As always, context matters. When prohibited content appears in the context of a news story or a narrative device in a dramatic work, we are likely to leave it up. If, however, the overall driving message of the work is to perpetuate a viewpoint that we have specifically banned, we will remove it. We will also consider a user’s speech outside of Vimeo (such as social media platforms, blogs, or anywhere else their personal views are clearly represented) in making calls about intent and good faith.  As an open video platform, we have a responsibility to thoughtfully consider the real world impact of content hosted on our service, and to help our community navigate the new and existing guidelines. Our Support and Trust & Safety teams are available around the clock to answer any questions you may have about getting the most out of Vimeo. You can contact them here. Thank you for making Vimeo a supportive and creative space to share your stories. We will continue to do our part to keep it that way.