Update – November 12, 2019: YouTube has clarified and says that it will not be terminating accounts for not making enough money.
However, in its clarifications to several users on Twitter, YouTube insists that the “no longer commercially viable” section of this sentence is referring to features and will not impact creators or viewers in new ways:
YouTube’s new terms of service are causing panic among creators who are worried that the vague and subjective language about channel terminations will be used to boot even more independent creators from the site.
The new terms, which will be introduced from December 10, 2019, say:
“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.”
Since “commercially viable” is a subjective term and decided solely by YouTube, creators fear that YouTube will use it to terminate accounts “if they feel like it.”
Other creators have added that YouTube’s increased restrictions on monetization and recommendations in 2019 are making it increasingly difficult to grow a channel and be commercially viable.
First they'll demonetize you, then they'll remove you completely because you are no longer "commercially viable"
— RGE (Blade Devil live now on Indiegogo!) (@RageGoldenEagle) November 7, 2019
Dear @YouTube , @YTCreators @TeamYouTube @SusanWojcicki or any other Youtube representative. Please explain to me how is it that now you can terminate my channel if I'm not commercially viable when you have been making it close to impossible for many small creators to grow? pic.twitter.com/DtJAvAinJq
— Emotional shutdown Rox (@Metamrphos_Rox) November 7, 2019
Youtube Pre-2020: Oh wow I made 10 bucks off ads. Neat
Youtube Post-2020: "Your account has been suspended and your gmail deleted for not being commercially viable. You are also being fined 42,000 dollars for uploading "Let's Play Resident Evil Part 8" under COPPA"
— Mister AntiBully (@MisterAntiBully) November 8, 2019
Commercial viability isn’t the only vague and subjective language contained in these new terms. They also state that YouTube may terminate accounts if: “We believe there has been conduct that creates (or could create) liability or harm to any user, other third party, YouTube or our Affiliates.”
Like with the commercial viability, the determination of what causes “harm” or creates “liability” to YouTube, its users, third parties, and affiliates lies solely with YouTube which means any creator could potentially be terminated without being notified under these new terms.
The language in these new terms is the latest of many recent changes that have had an adverse effect on creators. Recently YouTube was accused of lying and withholding creator funds in a demonetization purge. New data also showed that other changes coming to YouTube in 2020 will likely cut some creator ad revenue by 90%.