The 'no longer commercially viable' wording added to YouTube's terms of service has the vlogging crowd worried that it will shut down niche video channels that mainstream advertisers don't like. But YouTube says nothing has changed.
YouTube's attempt to explain when it can terminate your account has led to confusion among its most prolific users. The Google-owned video platform chose a curious way to explain it, implying that YouTube can delete your account if your videos alienate advertisers.
"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," reads the change to YouTube's Terms of Service, which will go into effect Dec. 10.
The "no longer commercially viable" wording has the vlogging crowd worried that YouTube is empowering itself to shut down niche video channels that mainstream advertisers don't like.
Although the fine print sounds scary, YouTube told PCMag that nothing has actually changed. "We're not changing the way our products work, how we collect or process data, or any of your settings. We're also not changing how we work with creators, nor their rights over their works, or their right to monetize," YouTube spokeswoman Ivy Choi said in an email.
The wording was designed to ensure that video uploaders are aware of the platform's existing terms of service, which say YouTube can terminate your account if you break the rules.
There's also another way to read the wording: In a sense, it means Google can shut down all of YouTube if the service no longer becomes commercially viable.
Earlier this year, several major brands suspended their ads with YouTube after it was revealed that pedophiles were using the comment section on videos featuring minors to exchange contact details and links to child porn. In response, YouTube killed the comment sections on most videos featuring minors.
Another upcoming change to YouTube's terms of service now mentions "Content is the responsibility of the person or entity that provides it to the Service. YouTube is under no obligation to host or serve Content."
YouTube may have included the change to address charges of censorship, and how it's been taking down videos promoting Neo-Nazism, white supremacy, and conspiracy theories. In June, the platform updated its rules to ban videos that promote the superiority of one group over another and conspiracy theory videos that claim "someone has evil, corrupt, or malicious intent."
If a user does get banned or their content is taken down, YouTube will send a notification (unless law enforcement prohibits it), according to the updated terms of service. "Where YouTube is terminating your access for Service changes, where reasonably possible, you will be provided with sufficient time to export your Content from the Service," the company says.
Banned users will also still be able to view videos on YouTube; they just won't be able to comment or upload content. They can also appeal the ruling if they believe YouTube terminated their account in error.
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