How these guidelines are enforced
Please realize that Patreon is a diverse community and, while you may not necessarily agree with someone’s point of view, it may not be a violation of our Community Guidelines. That said, when you see a page on Patreon that you feel violates our community guidelines, please take the time to report them via our reporting tool. You can read more about how to report a creator or a post here. A member of the Trust & Safety team will review the report and if our Community Guidelines have been violated, the case manager will contact the creator to let them know that they are outside these guidelines.
This is a commitment to creators. We know this is your livelihood. We invest heavily in making these decisions as fair and transparent as possible. We always want creators to feel like they have an open line of communication. So how does this translate to moderation? Our first reflex is always to try to educate creators to help them understand how a rule has been broken and how to remedy the issue. In cases where the violation is particularly bad or intentional we may take further action such as suspending or removing their account. In the most extreme cases we may ban a creator from using Patreon.
Because you are raising funds on Patreon, we may be held accountable for what you do with those funds, so we may also look at what you do with your membership off our platform. As a result when we talk about “On Patreon,” it means the creations you are funding on and through Patreon. When reviewing a page, we look at how creations are shared, where the page is linked to and where the traffic comes from. No matter what happens, we always give creators the opportunity to appeal a decision by contacting us and sending any relevant information they believe was not considered. We may not change our minds, but we will always listen.
Be safe, be respectful, make stuff
These Community Guidelines exist to shape and guide Patreon and the growing number of creators and communities using it. This is not about building an arbitrary framework of “right” or “wrong.” It’s about making Patreon a place where diverse creators and their communities feel excited, supported, and happy to exist, while still allowing for different—and sometimes even conflicting—points of view.
These guidelines summarize a thorough, thoughtful, and living internal policy that we spent time thinking about and defining with guidance from community and safety experts. We’re proud of these guidelines because we believe they will help creators build a safe and supportive environment in which they can continue to create, share and build intimate and lasting relationships with their patrons.
To summarize: Patreon is for creators who put something original out into the world. As a creator, you may not post creations that infringe on others’ intellectual property rights.
- You can’t create fake pages or collect money for things you’re not actually doing. For example, you cannot create a fan page for someone else.
- You cannot pretend to be or impersonate someone else by using the name, brand or works of another to deceive patrons. We will review satire and comedy in a different way as we believe these subgenres are original creations.
- You also can’t use Patreon as a prank or to fund non-activity. For example, a creator cannot collect funds for *not doing* something, such as, “I will stop tweeting videos of playing the harmonica badly if I reach $200 per month.”
If you want to read more about our copyright infringement policies, you can find more information in our Copyright and Trademark Policy.
Bullying, harassment, and threats
To summarize: We don’t allow bullying or harassment because we want Patreon to feel like a safe place for our various communities. At the same time, we want people to be able to express themselves, be critical, and discuss controversial issues.
We recognize that discussing celebrities, media or other public figures can sometimes involve harsh criticism, and we believe that is an appropriate part of free debate. However, we draw the line when it comes to harassing private figures, or taking any action that might affect people’s physical safety, regardless of whether these people are private or public figures.
As much as we want you to be able to express yourself, we want all of our users to have the right to express their opinion without feeling intimidated. Even the most difficult conversations should take place in the most respectful way. Here is how we define these behaviors.
Bullying and harassment:
You cannot attempt to intimidate anyone, either directly or by using your influence over others. We treat real-life interactions more seriously than online interactions when analyzing whether a line has been crossed because it can be more threatening and lead to physical violence. When both sides engage in similar behavior, such as feuds between public figures, we are less likely to take action.
Anyone on Patreon should be able to express their opinion in a way that doesn’t threaten another person. In this respect, we take threats of violence very seriously. Any creator or patron threatening the well-being of an individual or group of people will be removed. This includes threatening behavior such as stalking or inciting others to commit violent acts.
If you are a victim of this behavior and feel that your personal safety is at risk, we suggest you contact your local law enforcement, in addition to reporting the behavior to us.
To summarize: Patreon connects creators to their patrons all over the world. We are a global platform built on promoting creativity, which makes us a very inclusive group. Therefore, there is no room on Patreon for projects funding hate speech, such as calling for violence, exclusion, or segregation. This includes serious attacks on people based on their race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sex, gender, sexual orientation, age, disability or serious medical conditions.
When reviewing an account for a potential hate speech violation, we consider some of the following questions:
- Do the creations have historical or educational value? For example, we don’t allow the use of the swastika for propaganda and promoting hate, but it would be acceptable to use it in an educational video to talk about Germany under the Third Reich.
- Is there a call for violence against someone based on a characteristic like those listed above?
- Does the creator glorify a group that is known to support ideologies that would be classified as hate speech under this policy?
- Is the creator using racial slurs or negative depictions of someone based on a characteristic like those listed above?
This list is not exhaustive, but we want to be transparent about how we work in the grey areas between speech and action. There can be a fine line between political comments and hate speech. If you come across what you believe to be hate speech on Patreon, please take the time to report it.
18+ creations and mature themes
To summarize: As we strive to create a community that is inclusive and diverse, we want to consider the different ages and sensitivities within our patron base. We are not trying to create or reinforce arbitrary frameworks of “right” or “wrong,” but rather want to give people the choice of whether or not to view adult creations.
To help patrons make these decisions, we distinguish adult content (content containing mature themes) from all-audience content by applying an 18+ flag to the former. We define “mature themes” as any audio, visual, or audiovisual creations depicting explicit sexual situations, including nudity in sexual contexts (more on nudity below). We ask creators to flag themselves as 18+ if their creations may be considered inappropriate for people under 18 years of age. We realize the exact age threshold may vary depending on where you are, but most places require a certain level of maturity to view these creations and engage in these activities. Below is a brief, non-exhaustive breakdown for guidance.
Examples of content we view as containing mature themes:
- Works depicting real people in the nude in sexual contexts
- Animations or illustrations depicting nudity in sexual contexts, and animations or illustrations featuring sexual interactions
- Audio content that features simulated sexual interactions
Examples of content we won’t view as mature:
- Works featuring nudity that is not designed to be sexually gratifying, such as photos of sculptures or paintings
- Works featuring nudity or sexual situations that are designed for educational purposes
- A standup comedy set featuring profanity or “adult” language
We ask that all creators keep the public spaces on their Patreon pages (meaning profile pictures, membership tier descriptions, page banners, etc.) appropriate for all audiences. Content depicting mature themes must be reserved for patron-only posts.
As mentioned above, you can post nude creations on Patreon of both real and fictional subjects. Just be sure to mark posts with mature themes as “Patron Only” and ensure your page is flagged as 18+ if your content will feature such themes.
As a reminder, you should never post or share nude creations of any individual under the age of 18, including yourself. As a strong commitment to child safety, we will work with law enforcement whenever we come across child exploitation material. You can read more about our pornography policy in the next section.
Lastly, we understand that you may make a mix of 18+ creations and other types of creations, and that is okay with us too. We will always review your work within its context. However, if you have concerns, please let us know and we will provide you with guidance on how to maintain a dual presence.
Pornography and sexual services:
We don’t allow pornographic material or sexual services on Patreon, which we define as “real people engaging in sexual acts such as masturbation or sexual intercourse on camera.” If you want to learn more, please make sure to also consult our Benefit Guidelines.
Offensive and graphic creations:
We understand that artists sometimes have to push boundaries to create thought-provoking art, so we don’t review offensive and graphic creations with strict black and white guidelines. We instead review creations in the context of the whole creator page.
However, we have zero tolerance when it comes to the glorification of sexual violence which includes bestiality, rape, and child exploitation (i.e., sexualized depiction of minors). This is true for illustrated, animated, or any other type of creations. Patreon reserves the right to review and remove accounts that may violate this guideline.
We also do not allow other fringe sexual fetish creations, such as incest, necrophilia, or fetish creations that are hard to distinguish from non-consensual sex.
We understand that some topics on this list such as incest or rape are a little bit more complicated because these situations are, unfortunately, part of real life. As a result, when reviewing these types of creations, the Trust and Safety team will take into consideration context including personal, historical or educational narrative. For example, survivor stories or fiction such as Lolita are allowed on Patreon.
To summarize: We take a strong stance against doxing, which is sharing an individual’s private information or aggregating their public information for the purpose of intimidating them through harassment.
We take this strong stance against doxing because it is used to silence or intimidate people with different viewpoints on the internet. It can cause extensive emotional trauma, and can put the victim’s physical safety at risk.
The most classic form of doxing is when an individual’s private personal information is shared. This could be information such as a phone number or home address. The definition of private personal information can vary and may mean that it is simply very difficult to find.
We also consider it to be doxing when an individual’s non-private information is aggregated. For example, we would consider it doxing if someone’s profile picture was combined with their real name, all of their known social media accounts, and the city they lived in.
No matter the specific information shared, we also evaluate the context around why it was shared. If it looks like this information is being shared for the purpose of making it easier for a large group to harass that individual, we are likely to consider it doxing.
When doxing takes place, we lose the ability to have conversations. Doxing isn’t speech countering speech, it is speech shutting down others’ ability to speak. It removes our ability to discuss ideas, grow as individuals and have a safe space for disagreement.
People who can’t use Patreon
To summarize: Because Patreon empowers people financially, we restrict both the types of media and projects that can be funded on Patreon, and also which people can and cannot receive funds through Patreon. After creating a Patreon page, any creator caught in the act or convicted of making credible violent threats, committing violent crimes, malicious doxing, coordinating nonviolent harm (such as fraud, money laundering and gambling), or encouraging others to do any of these activities may be banned from using Patreon.
You cannot use Patreon to fund your run for office or to fund the political campaigns of others.
Criminal or Harmful Past:
Individuals who have fulfilled the terms of their sentence for past offenses may share their works on Patreon. Any creator observed committing, or convicted of, making credible violent threats or acts, child abuse, malicious doxing, coordinating nonviolent harm (such as fraud, money laundering, and gambling), or encouraging others to do any of these activities, may be banned from using Patreon.
People with a direct affiliation to violent or dangerous groups (such as terrorist or cyber terrorist organizations, organized criminal groups, and violent hate groups), may be restricted from receiving funds through Patreon.
Creators may discuss these groups in their content for educational, reporting, or debunking purposes. However, actively supporting these groups or their leaders through Patreon may result in account removal.
Harmful and illegal activities
To summarize: We don’t allow funds to be collected for anything that facilitates harmful or illegal activities. You cannot fund creations that advocate, threaten, or show you causing harm to yourself, other people or animals. In the same way, you cannot promote illegal activities such as property crime, distribution of illegal weapons, or drug manufacturing.
We don’t allow any page that promotes or glorifies self-harm, such as pages that encourage self-injury, suicide, or an eating disorder. Examples include pages that glorify self-scarification or a pro-anorexia campaign. If we believe there’s a credible risk the creator will harm themselves, we will work with law enforcement when needed. However, we allow creations that promote awareness such as self-harm survival stories, especially if they have educational value.
If you or someone close to you might be in danger of hurting themselves, please contact local authorities or seek help: http://www.suicide.org/suicide-hotlines.html
We don’t allow pages that collect money for an illegal purpose, or that encourage others to break the law. Creators may not promote illegal weapons, drug manufacturing techniques or distribution, or property crime. With that said, we review each case individually. For example, although we don’t allow creations that help organize or encourage vandalism, we do allow street art.
We ask those creators who are posting dangerous stunts to include a clear disclaimer. We also require that these types of posts be marked as “Patron Only” if they are too graphic or dangerous for a general audience.
Patreon has zero tolerance for behaviors that exploit minors such as grooming. Users actively facilitating exploitation or attempting to exploit minors in this way will be removed from Patreon. We will report all users engaging in such activity to legal authorities upon removal.
Patreon will not help fund creations that engage in medical misinformation related to Covid-19, and disinformation related to propagating QAnon or Pizzagate conspiracy theories. Please reference these blogs for further information:
To summarize: While it can be hard to grow a patron base, no one likes being spammed. Be creative and original, don’t post repetitive comments or send unwanted private messages to other members of the community.
These are some of the actions we consider to be spamming, which is prohibited on Patreon:
- Don’t create pledging schemes; don’t contact other creators to have a pledge-for-a-pledge kind of trade deal.
- Don’t use Patreon to release or link to malware or phishing schemes.
- Don’t make misleading posts to grow your patronage.
- Don’t post comments on other creators’ pages promoting your own page.
- Don’t send a large number of unsolicited private messages asking for support.
- Don’t use incorrect tagging in order to drive more search results.
- Don’t post multiple paid posts per day if you are a per-post creator.
When reviewing reports about spam, we will distinguish between commercial spam and friendly abuse such as legitimate creators spamming other creators’ pages. If we determine the spam is friendly abuse, the account will be flagged; repeat offenses will lead to full removal of the creator or patron page. Commercial spamming by an account that is not a legitimate creator will be removed from Patreon. In other words, be creative and original because nobody likes Spam (not the canned type).
To summarize: The philosophy behind these Community Guidelines applies to creators and patrons alike. While we empower creators to manage their communities, there are some instances when the Trust and Safety team will review reports for patrons’ behavior.