YouTube’s New ‘TOS’ Allows for Account Removal; But Is This Too Broad?

Published on November 11, 2019

For content creators who make a profitable and successful living on and through their YouTube channels, the platform’s new Terms of Service (TOS) has some users and creators worried that their channel could be at risk for deletion.

The site’s new TOS which is set to take effect on December 10, explains YouTube’s new power and ability to “terminate a user’s access”:

YouTube is updating their Terms of Service on 10 December, 2019. It presents an awful possibility for the future of creators on the platform. It seems they will be able to terminate your channel if it’s ‘no longer commercially viable.




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.

Source: YouTube

The platform began reaching out to its users via email last week, notifying them about the site’s new terms of service.

But, the TOS all around is fundamentally flawed.

#1—Universal Application

Source: YouTube

As written, the terms seem to encompass both users and content creators who maintain a YouTube account.

This seems to hint that the platform can remove accounts that don’t necessarily monetize or commercially profit.

#2—What Does “Commercially Viable” Mean?

Like many platforms’ terms of service, YouTube’s new provision fails to specifically define what qualifies as “commercially viable.”

As written, these broad terms essentially allow YouTube to “cherry-pick” what accounts aren’t pulling in enough advertising dollars and revenue. In other words, the “value” a user’s account brings to YouTube’s platform is extremely subjective…and dangerous to those who are “successful” within their own niche.

However, on the flip-side, it does give the platform the right to remove those accounts which distribute hate speech or other violent rhetoric such as white supremacist content, terroristic content, and of course harassing/bullying-like content. This makes it a much friendlier platform alongside YouTube Kids.

Many believe this move by YouTube is another play in its favor towards content creators, making it difficult for the average user to be “seen” across the platform.

As for 2020, we could start to see a change in how YouTube operates with respect to content curation and content visibility.

Andrew "Drew" Rossow is a former contract editor at Grit Daily.

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