Google recently announced that it will start deleting accounts that have been inactive for two years starting in December this year. The move was supposed to cover all its products, including Gmail, Drive, Docs, YouTube, Google Photos, Meet and Calendar. But now the tech giant has updated its blog post (as noticed by TechCrunch) announcing the purge to say that it does “not have plans to delete accounts with YouTube videos at this time.”
The tech giant positioned security as its main reason for deleting inactive accounts. It said internal analysis showed that old, abandoned accounts are around 10 times less likely to have two-factor enabled. That makes them vulnerable to bad actors who could use them for identity theft and other nefarious purposes. One could also come to the conclusion, however, that deleting old accounts would free up space in Google’s servers.
After the announcement went out, critics raised concerns that the move could wipe out some important pieces of internet history. Old YouTube videos, including the very first one, would disappear, along with videos uploaded by deceased users. Google didn’t say why it ultimately changed its mind, but YouTube videos are safe. For now.
As for the rest of its products, the company intends to send out warning emails to accounts in danger of being deleted and to their recovery emails by the end of 2023. Those accounts will be deactivated within 60 days if their owners don’t log in after receiving the warning email, though users will have 60 more days (for a total of four months) to recover their accounts before they’re permanently gone.