Google Clarifies That It Will Not Delete Old Accounts with YouTube Videos

Google Clarifies That It Will Not Delete Old Accounts with YouTube Videos

Earlier this week, Google announced it would purge all YouTube accounts that have gone two years without a login. However, after some well-deserved pushback from the Internet, the company has sneakily updated its blog post to reveal that it will only be deleting empty accounts, not accounts with videos.

TechCrunch noticed that Google updated its blog post revealing the decision to delete abandoned accounts sometime after the original announcement was made. Google’s new addendum to the policy states in black and white: “We do not have plans to delete accounts with YouTube videos at this time.” The update comes after Google revealed on Tuesday that the company would be deleting all Google accounts that have not been logged in to for two years — including YouTube, Google Photos, and Google Workspace. Google said that these accounts may use compromised passwords or not have two-factor authentication enabled, threatening their security.

Google wrote in its blog post:

Our internal analysis shows abandoned accounts are at least 10x less likely than active accounts to have 2-step-verification set up. Meaning, these accounts are often vulnerable, and once an account is compromised, it can be used for anything from identity theft to a vector for unwanted or even malicious content, like spam. To reduce this risk, we are updating our inactivity policy for Google Accounts to 2 years across our products. Starting later this year, if a Google Account has not been used or signed into for at least 2 years, we may delete the account and its contents – including content within Google Workspace (Gmail, Docs, Drive, Meet, Calendar) and Google Photos.

Despite this new caveat, everything else about Google’s plan to purge old accounts remains intact. The earliest deletions will begin in December 2023 and will continue in a phased approach, beginning with accounts that were created and then never used. Google says in the post that before accounts get the boot, users will receive “multiple notifications over the months leading up to deletion” that will be sent to whatever email addresses are on file. Accounts belonging to organisations like schools and companies will not be affected.

Google’s new policy comes as several platforms are doing their digital spring cleaning. While Google Photos is included in the umbrella of the company’s announcement, the photo-storing platform already has an auto-delete policy in place that was announced in 2020. Similarly, Twitter CEO Elon Musk tweeted earlier this month that Twitter would be archiving inactive accounts.

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