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Google now says it will not delete unused accounts that have YouTube videos

YouTube logo against a black and red background

Earlier this week, Google announced plans to start deleting personal accounts on its service that had not been used or accessed for two years. In the original version of the blog post announcing this move, it stated:

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), YouTube and Google Photos.

Well, that mention of deleting Google accounts that have YouTube videos caused many people to sound alarms online. There were concerns that people who have uploaded popular YouTube videos that have since passed away might have them deleted.

Since then, Google has quietly amended that blog post. It eliminates "YouTube" from the above paragraph and then adds the following sentence:

Additionally, we do not have plans to delete accounts with YouTube videos at this time.

So if you haven't checked into your Google account in a while, and you have uploaded some YouTube videos via that account, you should be safe.

As previously mentioned, Google is making this move to delete unused or inactive accounts for security purposes. There are concerns that older and unused accounts could have passwords that have since been compromised and that those older accounts might not have extra measures to protect them like two-factor authentication.

The company plans to start deleting Google accounts in December 2023 and will begin with accounts that were established but never actually used. If you have such an account, Google says it will send you "multiple notifications over the months leading up to deletion". Those notices will be sent to both the account email and to its recovery email address.

In order to keep an account active in Google's eyes, all you have to do is sign into it and use it for simple activities like reading or sending emails, using it with Google Search, or ironically watching a YouTube video.

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