How To Take Down A YouTube Video That Isn’t Yours

If you want to learn how to remove a YouTube video that someone else uploaded, you’re not alone. As a matter of fact, these days this issue is extremely common.


YouTube is a behemoth of a website and is showing no signs of slowing down. Not only that, but it’s actually the second most popular search engine out there (most people only think of it as a video platform).

This means that you not only have to worry about the video showing up in Google but your actual YouTube search results as well. Having to manage and deal with both makes this situation far more difficult, which is why understanding how to take down a YouTube video that isn’t yours is essential.

While tons of creators and consumers enjoy the benefits of YouTube, the site has a big problem:

It’s very difficult to enforce the rules.

Like most massive websites, the sheer amount of content generated means you have to rely on a mix of automated and user-enforced methods to regulate what’s on the site. It’s just not possible to keep tabs on everything manually.

This leads to your problem.

If someone else posts a video of you that hurts your reputation, it’s not a straightforward process to get it removed. It’s actually quite a hassle.

But that’s why we’ve made this post. It’s crucial to understand your options so you can put your best foot forward and sort this problem out.

Is this a big inconvenience? Of course.

Does it mean you’re helpless? Absolutely not.

Understanding how to remove a video from YouYube that someone else uploaded is not as complicated as it might seem. Let’s break it down piece by piece.

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Assessing The Situation — Factors to Consider

Understanding your situation thoroughly is essential if you want to get a video removed from YouTube.

Unfortunately, most people skip this step. They start trying whatever they think might work and end up right back where they started at best, or in a deeper hole at worst.

When you want to fully understand the situation you’re in there are a number of factors you have to consider:

1. The nature of the video

This is important because it will dictate what direction you take when trying to take down the YouTube video. Remove emotion from the situation and try to categorize it as best you can.

Is it defamation? Copyright infringement? Containing personal information?

Doing this will help you take the right steps later on when requesting that the video be removed. While miscategorizing your situation to YouTube might seem like a harmless mistake, it actually isn’t.

Choose the right category when taking down a YouTube video

First off, it will burn precious time because your request will get ignored or turned down. There are too many videos being flagged and reported on a daily basis for YouTube to work with you to try and find out what you meant.

Secondly, it hurts your case by creating a perception you don’t want. There are a ton of people who want to take down a YouTube video and simply try every single flagging and reporting method available (just to see if something works).

This wastes a ton of time and resources on the end of YouTube, and if you end up getting in touch with anyone directly you don’t want to appear like one of these people (even if you’re not).

You want to send as many signals that you have a legitimate claim as possible, so make sure you get it right the first time.

2. The uploader

Being aware of who uploaded the video in the first place will provide you with some useful information that you can use later on.

Knowing who uploaded the video will allow you to more accurately categorize the nature of the violation of the YouTube video that you want to get taken down. It will also provide some clarity on your options for contacting the uploader directly as well.

So how do you figure out who uploaded the video?

Unfortunately, there’s no exact science to it, and it can vary in difficulty. However, in order to take down a YouTube video that isn’t yours getting a solid idea will help you.

For example, if someone uses a personal account with their own name to post the video most of your work is done already. All you would have to do is verify that it’s a legitimate name under the account and go from there.

In situations where it’s not that easy, you’ll have to go work backward and piece everything together. The obvious place to start would be with the circumstance you were filmed in, and who was there.

In these situations, you might not be able to identify the person who filmed or uploaded the video exactly (if it was a random bystander for example), but that will still give you some valuable information going forward.

This would mean you would likely not be looking at a defamation situation and would have to explore other methods of action.

The one that’s the toughest to figure out is if there’s a dummy account that posts a custom-made video about you (slides sharing personal information for example). This means there’s no contact information to work with and the video isn’t of a real-life event you can work backward from.

In these situations, you won’t be able to identify the uploader, but you still have options for getting the video removed from YouTube.

This would most likely point to a direct attack (via defamation or sharing personal information) which tends to get taken a bit more seriously in the process of taking down a YouTube video that isn’t yours.

Obviously, if it’s someone you know and have a good relationship with posts something that damages your reputation by accident, you can just reach out to them and ask them to take it down or edit it.

Long story short, spend a little time trying to figure out who posted or made the video and what their intent was. It will guide your actions going forward.

How To Get A Video Removed From YouTube

You now have some valuable information that will help you take down a YouTube video that isn’t yours but still damages your reputation. It’s time to jump into your options to get rid of that pesky video.

Unfortunately, getting a video removed from YouTube isn’t always a slam dunk (no matter how much information you have on your side).

This means you have to do things the right way and have a backup plan.

To get started, get familiar with the flagging options under the video in question. All you have to do in order to get started is click the little flag underneath the video which will display your list of options.

YouTube video flagging options

We always recommend that you start by using this feature first before moving on to your other options. This step is also where the categorizing that you did earlier will come in handy.

If you’re still a little unsure what category your video removal request falls under, check out the YouTube community guidelines and policies.

Once you’ve flagged the video it’s time to move into the next possible options that YouTube makes available to you.

The first is the safety and abuse reporting option which is a more formal and thorough submission flow you can work through. If your situation falls under this category then we definitely recommend you go through this process.

Within this, you will find options like harassment, cyberbullying, impersonation, and more. We’ve found that a lot of people who want a video removed from YouTube can make great use of this tool.

If you need to go the legal route then this is the link you should take instead. Some of the common issues this covers are privacy (someone disclosing personal information or using your image), copyright, and defamation.

If you have an open and shut case the correct use of these options will likely get you the result you want, but it’s not always guaranteed. Remember, YouTube gets a ton of these requests to take down videos on a daily basis.

This means they simply don’t have the resources to do a deep dive on every single case.

If your situation is borderline or not clear enough you’ll likely get denied. This happens to a bunch of people who thought their situation was a sure thing, which is why we want to take a second to go over your other option.

Another option you might have is contacting the person who uploaded the video. Be careful though, this can backfire quite often.

If you think the uploader didn’t mean to harm your reputation then it can be worth a shot. Simply explain your situation and ask them if they wouldn’t mind taking the video down (or editing it).

However, if you’re not 100% certain if the video upload was malicious or not we don’t recommend this option. Far too often we’ve seen victims try to reach out and end up making the situation worse by getting emotional or provoking the uploader.

Unless you’re totally sure the odds are in your favor, you’re better off moving on to the next option.

Our Favorite Alternative

Regardless of whether YouTube accepts your request to remove a video uploaded by someone else, you need another form of protection. This means cleaning up your online reputation and focusing primarily around your video results.

What does this mean exactly?

Without going into every little piece of the puzzle (we do all of that from A-Z in this online reputation management guide) you need to focus on creating positive content that will outrank your negative video.

Since you’re trying to take down a YouTube video that isn’t yours, this means you will not only have to be aware of how you look on YouTube but Google as well. Google regularly pulls videos to show in their search results, so you have to fight a battle on two fronts.

Luckily, it’s rather straightforward and all you need is some time and expertise to make it happen.

By creating and optimizing some strong social media profiles you can quickly take a bite out of your Google results. Then, for YouTube you can create helpful videos and optimize your own YouTube profile page in order to potentially suppress or replace the negative video with something you prefer.

There are also a ton of super fancy engagement methods you can use in order to help reduce the chances that the YouTube video you’re worried about will be seen by other people.

That’s all a bit advanced and takes a lot of time to pull off properly, so if you’re interested in that you should check out our reputation management services.

Understanding how to take down a YouTube video that isn’t yours is all about being realistic and having multiple plans of attack. It would be great if you could just flag the video you didn’t like and make it disappear, but you don’t have that luxury.

That’s why we love this method so much.

It allows you to take matters into your own hands and fight back against any video that might be painting you in a negative light.

Too often we hear from people in a similar predicament who simply tried YouTube’s methods of removal and stopped when it didn’t work out. They dealt with the aftermath for months before finding another alternative.

Don’t let that happen to you.

That time is gold when it comes to taking down or removing a YouTube video when using this method. The sooner you start, the sooner you’ll get the result you want!

Where to go from here

Now that you know your options and understand the whole process it’s time to get started. Start with the obvious steps we mentioned first (flagging and more in-depth requests).

If reaching out to the uploader isn’t an option, move on to the process of cleaning up how you look online. The latter is a service we provide regularly, so if you need any help feel free to get in touch with us.

The last thing to remember is that this process will take time, no matter what method ends up being successful for you. The most important thing is to stay consistent and on top of things so you can remove or take down the YouTube video as fast as possible.

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