YouTube says it can delete your account if you’re not 'commercially viable'
YouTube’s new terms of service has some users and content creators very worried that the company could delete their account.
In the section titled “Account Suspension & Termination” with the subheader “Terminations by YouTube for Service Changes,” the site’s new terms, which are set to take effect on Dec. 10, adds the following:
“YouTube may terminate your access, or your Google account’s access to all or part of the Service if YouTube believes, in its sole discretion, that provision of the Service to you is no longer commercially viable.”
In its most basic terms: if YouTube isn’t making money off you, the company can delete your account. The platform’s current terms of service do not include this language.
Last week, YouTube started sending an email to its users notifying them about the site’s new terms of service. In its email, YouTube summarizes the update as a way to make its terms clearer and easier to understand. Yet, this new addition to its terms weren't mentioned in the email, and the wording couldn’t be any more vague.
As written, these broad terms give YouTube the power to delete a creators’ account if they upload or livestream video that, for example, doesn’t pull in enough advertising revenue.
YouTube viewers aren’t in the clear either. Notice the terms are worded to cover anyone who has an account, not just its content creators. The language used can mean that a user who looks at lots of content but doesn’t necessarily monetize can also have their account removed.
A generous read of these terms can be seen as YouTube giving itself the ability to remove users and channels that disseminate hate speech or other violent rhetoric. For example, an account that starts creating white supremacist content can certainly be deemed as "no longer commercially viable."
However, the wording could be more explicit in defining what the update means.
It should also be noted that the terms specifically state the company can terminate a user’s Google account as well. As written, a YouTuber can lose their Gmail, Google Photos, Documents, and more just for “no longer being commercially viable” on the video platform.
People are, of course, freaking out. On Reddit, a single discussion on the topic has more than 32,000 upvotes and 2,300 comments at the time this post was published. Tweets shining a light on the terms of service update are receiving thousands of likes and retweets.