Your Privacy and YouTube: Here’s What You Need to Know

YouTube is one of the most visited sites on the internet, and for good reason. YouTube gives us all of the entertainment and news we could want in video form, and allows us to get it in an instant, as well as suggested videos from the advanced algorithm. YouTube, in its infancy, was acquired by Google and has been run by the tech giant ever since.

Because of this, Google and YouTube share many of the same privacy settings. There are some things about YouTube that are specific to the site compared to Google in general, though. For starters, YouTube keeps a watch history by default, but you’re able to turn that off whenever you want. You can also pick and choose what videos actually appear in your history or wipe the history altogether. The same is also true for your search history.

As for Google’s link to YouTube, there are a couple of nuances. Google tracks your website and app activity, as well as your location. With this, Google is able to track what would make a good fit for you in terms of advertising. You can turn off web activity, location history and ad personalization through your Google account so that these aren’t tracked.

According to Google, they collect your information to see what ads would be most useful, suggested YouTube videos and people you may want to connect with. Even when you’re not signed into Google, they can still track your history and location to suggest more personalized ads. While it might be scary to hear about how much Google collects while you’re browsing without even knowing it, the information tends to be well secured. Always check your passwords, though, to make sure you were never compromised.

When it comes to who can see your videos, YouTube allows you to change things up a bit instead of having every video be available to the public. You can set your videos to private or unlisted. There’s a slight difference between the two privacy settings of videos.


If someone clicks on your YouTube channel, they won’t be able to see any videos that are unlisted at first. Instead, you’ll have to directly send them a link (or post it online on sites such as Twitter, Reddit, etc.). The only way that someone can see your video without the link is if somebody creates a public playlist and adds your video to that list. This is ideal if you have a video where you’re trying to avoid getting a copyright strike.


Setting a video to private takes things to the next step on YouTube. Like unlisted videos, these videos won’t appear on your public YouTube page, but you can still select who gets to see them. When you upload a video and set it to private, click on the menu on the left side of your screen and select ‘edit.’ From there, you can add a list of email addresses that are able to see your video as a link will be shared with them. Commenting is turned off for private videos, though comments can still be enabled on unlisted videos.

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