YouTube new Terms of Service causes concern over Google account termination

JC Torres - Nov 11, 2019, 10:41 pm CST
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YouTube new Terms of Service causes concern over Google account termination

It’s not unusual to wake up to an email informing you about upcoming changes to a service’s terms of use. But when that service involves or is owned by Google, it’s also not unusual for some feathers to be ruffled more than just slightly. Most have probably focused on the potential privacy ramifications of YouTube’s new Terms of Service, which Google is trying to quickly respond to. One user, however, is raising questions about one particular clause that could provide fatal for Google account holders.

Google assures YouTube users, which probably accounts for the majority of the world’s Internet-using population, is simply to keep the ToS up-to-date after years of being vague and unclear. While it may not seem to change anything on the surface, the terms seem to place an even heavier emphasis on reminding users that Google is the final arbiter in deciding whether you have access or not.

That, however, doesn’t just apply to YouTube but for all Google services, which are tied together by a single Google account. And as one Redditor points out, a single paragraph in YouTube’s new ToS could end up costing a user his or her entire Google account. That clause goes like so:

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.

Granted, the phrasing suggests that only a Google account’s access to YouTube could be terminated for such a reason but the clause immediately before it does mention terminating a Google account for other causes. The vagueness or generality of the words, which is perhaps intentional and legal, is the part that has some now worried. YouTube and Google, after all, have been known to ban accounts for reasons the public sometimes disagree with.

Of course, Google is perfectly within its right to make the rules, seeing as it owns a service that is also a business, not a charity. Unfortunately, users have very little choice in the matter and are practically and legally agreeing to those terms by simply using YouTube.


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