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An upcoming terms of service update to YouTube will allow staff to close accounts that are “no longer commercially viable.”
The December 10th Terms of Service will implement several rules, including the following:
“Terminations by YouTube for Service Changes
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.”
While the terms were already applied on July 22nd to “the European Economic Area and Switzerland“, the TOS update coming to the US has caught more attention, and made many concerned.
Some users have taken to Google’s own support page, asking for clearer guidelines, but to no avail. Others took to social media such as Reddit. Much speculation as to why Google are doing this has also occurred.
Some think it is simply a way to remove channels that no longer upload content, others feel it is another method for the platform to demonetize and ban conservatives due to an alleged bias. Others also believe YouTube is aiming to shift their primary content makers to celebrities with large followings.
Speaking with Mashable, a YouTube spokesperson issued the following statement:
“We made some changes to our Terms of Service in order to make them easier to read and to ensure they’re up to date. We’re not changing the way our products work, how we collect or process data, or any of your settings.”
An additional statement was released later on Twitter in reply to a user:
“To clarify, there are no new rights in our ToS to terminate an account bc it’s not making money. As before, we may discontinue certain YouTube features or parts of the service, for ex., if they’re outdated or have low usage. This does not impact creators/viewers in any new ways.”
YouTube has suffered numerous incidents and decisions that have negatively affected users. These are usually dubbed “adpocalpyses“; large numbers of advertisers pulling their adverts from the website due to a controversy, and the new terms that come after to prevent such an incident happening again being poorly received. This in turn usually results in many channels suffering demonetization. YouTube has already begun to demonetize content with profanity, even if the content is not intended for children.
The Federal Trade Commission are also aiming to enforce a law, demanding YouTube (or rather, its users) categorize all existing and future content on the website as “kid-directed”, or suffer massive fines (again, aimed at the users).