The Internet’s biggest video hosting site can delete your account if your use of its service is no longer deemed “commercially viable.”
YouTube posted a terms of service update of new policies to take effect on December 10, 2019. One of the new rules states that “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.”
As Mashable summarized in its coverage: “In its most basic terms: if YouTube isn’t making money off you, the company can delete your account.”
The terms of service update quickly noted shortly thereafter that “If you believe your Google account has been terminated in error, you can appeal using this form.
With that in mind, can YouTube be trusted with its appeals process? What about with creators’ money? Maybe, but then again, maybe not.
When the company was pressed on the issue, @TeamYouTube responded in a tweet:
While we can't share the specifics, we'd recommend to just keep uploading original content and building your subs. If our review team don’t have sufficient content to review, it's likely that they would held the application for additional review before making the final decision.
In the same policy update, YouTube also told users and creators that the company “may suspend or terminate your access, your Google account, or your Google account’s access to all or part of the Service” for “cause” if “(a) you materially breach” their Agreement, “(b) we are required to do so” by law, or (c) the company believes “there has been conduct that creates (or could create) liability or harm to any user, other third party, YouTube or our Affiliates.”
While these updates may seem innocuous, and maybe even noble on the surface, this could become a slippery slope when such subjective terms like “harm” are used.
Mashable speculated that “these terms can be seen as YouTube giving itself the ability to remove users and channels that disseminate hate speech or other violent rhetoric.”
YouTube told Mashable that it made changes to its “Terms of Service in order to make them easier to read and to ensure they’re up to date,” also noting that it is “not changing the way our products work, how we collect or process data, or any of your settings.” But based on YouTube’s history of customer service, users and creators may have a right to be skeptical.
Remember, just this month, reports emerged that The Heritage Foundation had been sparring with YouTube over a video that was censored because it included Pediatrician Dr. Michelle Cretella’s critique of transgenderism.