All users of Tolstoy Services, as defined in our Terms of Service, must comply with our Acceptable Use Policy, which places restrictions on how you may use such Services. In these Guidelines, we explain how we interpret those restrictions (Sections 1, 2 and 3 below) and enforce them (Sections 4, 5 and 6 below).
We’re committed to respecting the internationally recognized human rights set out in the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, including by enforcing our Terms of Service and Acceptable Use Policy in a way that balances free expression and privacy with our responsibility to keep Tolstoy and the broader community safe from harmful materials. Help us do that by following our Guidelines and reporting content that might violate them.
All content -- videos, recordings, livestreams, text, images -- that you submit to us or create using our Services must comply with our Acceptable Use Policy, the contents of which are explained below.
Before you submit any content, you must ensure that you have all necessary rights to do so. You must either own the content, have obtained appropriate licenses, or have some other clear legal basis to upload it. If your content contains any third-party works (like background music or stock footage), you must also have the right to include those works in your content.
Uploading infringing materials may expose you to legal liability and could result in the termination of your account in accordance with our Copyright Policy.
1.2 Content Restrictions
We have reprinted all of the content restrictions listed in subsection 5.2 of our Acceptable Use Policy here, along with additional guidance (click the “read more” links to expand various sections). You may not upload content that:
- Infringes any third party’s copyrights or other rights (e.g., trademark, privacy rights, etc.)
Third Party Rights
For more information on copyright issues, see our discussion in subsection 1.1 above. In addition, your work may not infringe any other third party rights. This may include trademark rights and privacy rights.
- Is sexually explicit (e.g., pornography) or promotes a sexual service
Sexually Explicit Content
We do not allow pornography or other sexually explicit content. This includes content that (1) depicts sexual acts in an explicit manner; (2) contains sexualized nudity; or (3) is primarily intended to cause sexual stimulation, even if no sexual act or nudity is featured. We may allow videos that depict sexuality that serve a clear creative, artistic, aesthetic, or narrative purpose and non-sexual nudity. However, in these cases you must rate the content properly. See Section 1.6 Content Ratings below for more information.
We do not allow content that advertises, promotes, or recruits for services of a sexual or erotic nature including:
- Escort services
- Erotic massages
- Other erotic services (including live sex shows, fetish fulfillment, etc.)
- Pornographic content
- Strip clubs or other erotic entertainment venues
- We do not allow videos that advertise or promote a product or service using sexually explicit or extremely suggestive content.
- Is defamatory
We do not allow content that makes provable false statements of fact about a person, regardless of their private or public status, that would harm their reputation. If the complaining figure is a public one, we will generally require evidence that the false statement was maliciously made to take down the content.
- Is harassing or abusive
Harassment, bullying and abuse
We do not allow content that seeks to threaten, intimidate, insult, shame or hurt an individual or group, regardless of their private or public status. Threats, doxxing, revenge porn, trolling, cyber-bullying, and other forms of abuse will be removed.
We believe in the value of allowing for discussion of important issues of public relevance to happen and this often includes critical commentary. Therefore, we may allow critical commentary of public figures may be allowed as long as it does not constitute harassment or abuse.
- Contains hateful or discriminatory speech
Hateful and Discriminatory Speech
We do not allow hateful and discriminatory speech. We define this as any expression that (1) is directed to an individual or group of individuals based upon personal characteristics of that individual or group; (2) conveys a message of inferiority or contempt; and (3) would be considered extremely offensive to a reasonable person. Personal characteristics are core elements of identity that are shared by groups of people (and are generally not specific to any one person) and include:
- Race, color, national origin, and ethnicity
- Gender identity
- Sexual orientation
- Content will generally be considered categorical hate speech if it:
- Advocates for or celebrates violence against an individual or group based upon personal characteristics
- Advocates or celebrates genocide
- Calls for segregation or exclusion
- Denies that certain historical events occurred (e.g., Holocaust denial)
- Insults a minority group using a slur or “dog-whistle” code
- Equates people to animals, filth, vermin, sexual predators, or criminals based upon personal characteristics
- Spreads racial superiority theories or views
- Spreads conspiracy theories about specific groups who share personal characteristics
- Portrays a symbol of hate for no valid purpose
- In addition, we do not allow:
- Content promoting Sexual Orientation Change Efforts (SOCE): This is content that markets, sells, or constitutes counseling, therapy, or treatments intended to change a person’s sexual orientation from same-sex attraction to opposite-sex attraction.
- We do not allow content that markets, sells, or constitutes classes or tutorials that seek to teach seduction techniques, commonly referred to as Pick-up Artist (PUA) content.
- Promotes or supports terror or hate groups
We do not allow content from hate or terror groups that aims to spread propaganda designed to radicalise and recruit people or aid and abet attacks. See Section 2. Restricted Users below for more information on how we define these terms.
- Provides instructions on how to assemble explosive/incendiary devices or homemade/improvised firearms
We do not allow content that provides instructions to create bombs or homemade firearms. This includes instructions on how to modify manufactured firearms to increase their capacity or lethality through non-standard or prohibited means.
- Exploits or endangers minors
We do not allow content that was created through the exploitation of children or that is harmful to children. This includes:
- Child sexual abuse material (CSAM)
- Content that sexualizes minors
- Content that appeals to minors but contains adult themes
- Videos that invite minors to engage in harmful or dangerous activities, whether through express invitation or example
- Content featuring child nudity is not permitted. We will remove this type of content, regardless of who posted it or with what intention, to reduce the chances of others using it for unintended or harmful purposes.
If we locate any content suspected of containing CSAM, we will immediately remove the account and report the incident to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
- Depicts or encourages self-harm or suicide
Self-harm and Suicide
We do not allow content that depicts or encourages self-harm or suicide. This includes but is not limited to content that:
- Promotes or glorifies suicide
- Provides instructions on how to self-harm or die by suicide
- Encourages eating disorders
- We do allow videos where users talk openly about depression, self-harm, suicide or other mental health issues, or about their own experiences with these issues, to educate the public, raise awareness and help others.
- Depicts (1) unlawful real-world acts of extreme violence, (2) vivid, realistic, or particularly graphic acts of violence and brutality, (3) sexualized violence, including rape, torture, abuse, and humiliation, or (4) animal cruelty or extreme violence towards animals
We do not allow content that:
- Incites violence
- Show people being murdered, tortured, or physically or sexually abused
- Depict self-mutilation or encourage it
- Show animals being tortured or killed
- Display shocking, disgusting, or gruesome images
- That said, Tolstoy understands that there can be videos that engage with these subjects in a critical, thoughtful way, or bring light to a subject that might otherwise go unreported. Videos that report on real-world situations, particularly in the aftermath of a violent event, sometimes may need to contain some graphic or violent scenes so long as they do not veer into the sensationalistic or exploitative. We will also consider whether there is a valid narrative purpose (in the case of fictional works). However, content that seeks primarily to disturb or shock the viewer (e.g., through the use of gore) will generally not be permitted.
- Promotes fraudulent or dubious money-making schemes, proposes an unlawful transaction, or uses deceptive marketing practices
We do not allow content that promotes:
- Illegal schemes (like Pyramid/Ponzi schemes)
- Businesses that promise wealth with little or no effort
- Unregistered securities offerings (absent a legal basis)
- Illegal products or services
- Products or services (even if legal) using deceptive marketing practices
- In addition, users may not use Tolstoy’s messaging capabilities for unsolicited direct marketing purposes.
- Conveys false or misleading claims about (1) vaccination safety, or (2) health-related information that has a serious potential to cause individual or public harm
We do not allow health-related content that might cause people to take dangerous or unproven treatments or refrain from taking indicated precautions or treatments that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or World Health Organization (WHO) recommend. We also do not allow claims that an epidemic or pandemic (such as COVID-19) are conspiracies.
We do not allow claims that vaccines are unsafe for a general population unless the CDC or WHO have substantiated the claim. This includes claims that vaccines:
- Cause or contribute to childhood autism (including the claim that the MMR vaccine is linked to autism)
- Infant immune systems cannot handle multiple vaccines
- Natural immunity is better than vaccine-acquired immunity
- Vaccines contain unsafe toxins
- Vaccines can infect people with the infectious disease they are trying to prevent
- Vaccines are not necessary to combat the spread of infectious diseases
- In addition, we do not allow content that promotes an agent or treatment for use to vaccinate against a particular infectious disease if it has not been specifically approved for such purpose by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration or another similar governmental body.
We do not allow content that seeks to provide false or misleading information regarding the safety and availability of abortion care. This includes:
- Promotion of abortion methods other than chemical or surgical methods deemed safe by the CDC and WHO
- Claims that misrepresent the safety or side effects of chemical or surgical abortions deemed safe by the CDC and WHO
- Content that misrepresents the availability of abortion care at a provider
- Content that misrepresents when an abortion may be safely conducted
- Claims that ectopic pregnancies can be safely carried to full term
- Promotion of so-called “abortion reversal pills”
- Examples of content that is not prohibited by this policy:
- Debates about abortion laws (whether pro or con)
- Objections to abortion based upon religous or moral reasons
- Debates about when life begins
- Content promoting safe abortion alternatives
- Spreads false or misleading information about voting or seeks to obstruct voting
We do not allow content that spreads false or misleading information on voter eligibility, voter registration, and the voting process (e.g., time, place, manner, requirements) in a manner that might cause a reasonable voter to fail to take an action that would allow that person to effectively vote. We also do not allow content that seeks to intimidate or harass voters.
We do not allow content that: calls for violence over voting or an election; seeks to intimidate or harass persons who administer voting or elections; or encourages others to do any of the foregoing or to interfere with or obstruct the voting or election process.
Misinformation about Elections Results
We do not allow false and misleading information about the results of an election where the content:
- contains an explicit or implicit call for violence or unlawful activity;
- defames, intimidates, or harasses people or companies involved in administering elections; or
- is part of an apparent campaign to spread disinformation (e.g., multiple accounts created to spread the content or other coordinated behavior).
- Candidate Eligibility
We do not allow content that spreads false or misleading information about a candidate's technical eligibility requirements for an elected office (e.g., age, citizenship, address).
- Contains (1) claims that a real-world tragedy did not occur; (2) false claims that a violent crime or catastrophe has occurred; or (3) false or misleading information (including fake news, deepfakes, propaganda, or unproven or debunked conspiracy theories) that creates a serious risk of material harm to a person, group, or the general public
False and Misleading Content
We do not allow:
- Claims that established events such as genocides, school shootings, or terrorist attacks did not happen.
- Claims that a disaster or other emergency did occur when no such event happened.
- Fake news, highly deceptive manipulated media (e.g., deepfakes), propaganda, conspiracy theory-related content, or any other false and misleading information that creates a serious risk of real-world-harms to individuals, groups, and the general public. Examples include:
- QAnon-related content
- Disinformation that seeks to stoke violence or insurrection
- War propaganda by foreign governments
- Violates any applicable law
1.4 Screen Name, Profile Picture and Avatar
You may not use screen names, profile pictures or avatars that are offensive (e.g., names with explicit language), depict any nudity, display symbols associated with gangs, hate groups, or terror organizations, or violate the content restrictions in Section 1.3 above.
In making decisions, we consider the entire context of the content to determine whether there may be a valid reason for including certain types of speech, such as newsworthiness, discussion of a religious text, criticism, or dramatic or narrative purposes (for fictional works). Such purposes may not be used, however, as mere devices to justify problematic speech (i.e., Restricted Content under our Acceptable Use Policy, as detailed in Section 1.3 above). We may also consider related content (like title, description, and tags) and information outside of Tolstoy, such as the user’s activities elsewhere, materials linked from Tolstoy, and the intended audience.
If you submit content that is also distributed on television, you must provide captioning. Similarly, if you are under any legal obligation to provide captioning, you must do so. Even if you are not required to do so, we strongly encourage you to provide them so that we can provide the best experience possible for people who may have difficulty viewing or listening.
2. Restricted Users
Certain users may not use our services, regardless of their content. These are: gangs, hate groups, terror organizations, members of the foregoing, and persons who are subject to U.S. sanctions. In certain cases, persons who are subject to sanctions by a non-U.S. government may also be included in this category. In addition, if you are in a country or region that is subject to comprehensive U.S. sanctions, you may not purchase software services or hardware from us.
Our Code of Conduct, Section 5.3 of our Terms of Service, sets rules that bar users from (among other things) harassing other users, interfering with our technical measures, spamming, or engaging in inauthentic behavior. “Spamming” includes mass distribution of the same or similar content, content containing links intended to sell the user some dubious item, and the use of bots, scripts, or other automated tools for any purpose. “Inauthentic behavior” includes creating fake accounts, liking or commenting on your own content using another account, and purchasing likes or comments from third-parties
4. Reporting Suspected Violations
If you see conduct that violates our terms, you may report it by either flagging it (where provided) or contact us.
If you believe that someone has infringed your copyright, please submit a takedown notice using our Copyright Policy.
5.1 Approach to Moderation
We endeavor to review specific content that is flagged by our users, third parties, and certain software-based systems. We do not endeavor to review every piece of content uploaded to our systems. In addition, when we do review content, it is usually for a particular reason, and so we do not endeavor to review it for all possible terms violations. Nor do we “pre-clear” any content before submission.
5.2 Suspensions, removals and terminations
Violations may result in suspension or removal of videos, account privileges, or your entire account. Account removal will occur in severe cases, such as where you have wilfully or repeatedly violated our terms or have uploaded extremely inappropriate content. If your account is permanently removed, you may not create a new account.
We endeavor to notify account holders of our enforcement decisions by emailing the registered email addresses on file. For this reason, it is important that you keep the email addresses up to date and regularly check your email.
We may, where appropriate, grant grace periods to comply with our requirements. The failure to address our concerns within the provided timeframe will be considered a violation itself absent good cause.
If you believe that we have made a mistake in moderating your account, you may submit a request to reconsider our decision.
6. Legal Effect
These Guidelines provide our definitive views on our restrictions, but are not meant to be exhaustive and shall not be construed to impose limitations or obligations on Tolstoy that do not appear in our Terms of Service. We may, from time to time, update our Guidelines to provide guidance on new situations that may arise.