In a recent policy update, Google has announced that it will no longer delete YouTube videos from inactive accounts. While the company had initially stated that any account inactive for two years would be deleted, feedback from the online community highlighted concerns about preserving internet history and accessing the digital archives of deceased users.
Google’s primary motive behind implementing the inactive account policy was to combat fraud, as abandoned accounts are more vulnerable to unauthorized access. The lack of two-step verification on these accounts increases the risk of various malicious activities, including identity theft and the dissemination of unwanted or harmful content like spam. However, Google recognized the value of preserving YouTube videos and clarified that it currently has no plans to delete accounts with such content.
While the retention of YouTube videos benefits users and ensures the preservation of digital artifacts, Google is still set to delete other types of old accounts. However, the deletion process for Google Workspace services like Gmail, Docs, Drive, Meet, and Calendar, as well as Google Photos, will not begin until December 2023. The process will be carried out in a phased manner, starting with accounts that have been deleted and left unused. This gives users ample time to log in and safeguard their data. Google will send multiple notifications, including those to the account’s recovery address, before proceeding with the deletion.
Although the decision to spare YouTube videos from deletion brings relief to internet enthusiasts, it is essential to note that Google encompasses various services that store people’s memories. Some digital artifacts may still be lost as part of the policy changes. Elon Musk, the owner of Twitter, has also recently announced plans to purge dormant accounts, indicating a potential trend across tech companies. These developments serve as a timely reminder for users to back up their meaningful data and ensure its long-term preservation.