Whatever the reason you make your video private, it’s a safe bet you don’t want anyone peeking at them. We know our private videos are safe from the prying eyes of the common YouTube user, but what about YouTube employees?
Yes however, It could be argued that if you are concerned about YouTube employees—or the employees of any online service you use for that matter—seeing your private content, you should probably just not use those services.
This is excluding sensitive information like passwords and payment information, of course, which should be encrypted and not visible to anyone but you.
Now, if we’re being totally honest, the answer to this question is going to involve a lot of guesswork. We simply don’t know what YouTube employees have access to on the back end. What we do know is that you have no expectation of privacy from YouTube with any content you upload to their servers. You accept various terms of service and, for all intents and purposes, you are granting YouTube the right to do pretty much what they want with your content. Within reason, of course.
What we’re saying is, regardless of whether YouTube employees can view your private videos or not, you should probably just assume they can. But, with that being said, let’s explore this topic a little more.
What Kind Of YouTube Employee?
The first thing we should establish is what kind of YouTube employee we are talking about. For example, many YouTubers have reported contacting YouTube support regarding an issue and being asked to make their video public or unlisted because the support agent could not view it. Of course, there could be question marks raised over whether this counts as a YouTube employee since this kind of technical support is often outsourced… and these days even automated.
So, it would seem the front line of technical support cannot view your private videos, but it is safe to assume that there are people who work at YouTube who can, the question is why would they ever need to?
Why Might A YouTube Employee Look At Private Videos?
The first thing we should do is address the elephant in the room; YouTube employees looking at private videos for fun. This is one of those awkward topics that probably doesn’t have a good answer. Officially, this will not happen. YouTube will not permit its employees to just look at private videos without good reason. Practically speaking, there may not be a way of knowing if an employee is doing it.
Again, we would say the best approach is to just assume that someone, somewhere is looking at the content you are uploading to YouTube, even if private.
This isn’t the horror show that you might think. Any YouTube employee viewing your private videos will almost certainly be operating under restrictions, and will not be allowed to just share your content or start talking about it with others, or else they are acting against YouTube’s internal policies, and will not want to risk being caught.
Another reason that a YouTube employee might be viewing your private videos is for the purpose of review, such as in response to a copyright dispute or appeal. If any kind of complaint is lodged against your content, it will likely still be reviewed by YouTube even if you have since made it private.
If your content becomes the subject of a legal matter, making it private will not keep it from the eyes of the relevant parties. Indeed, it is highly likely that deleting the video altogether will not be enough to prevent law enforcement agencies from viewing it.
There is no advice here save for don’t break the law, and certainly don’t upload footage of you breaking the law to YouTube.
Private Video View Counts
You may have noticed the view count on your private videos incrementing ever so slowly when you check. This may look like evidence of sneaky peaking by YouTube employees at first glance, but remember that YouTube counts your viewing in its metrics. If you are opening your private videos to find dozens of extra views, something is certainly amiss. But if your view count is just climbing up one at a time, that’s just you looking at your own video!
Though bots don’t increase view counts, they do get to “view” your videos, private or not. We say view in quotation marks because the way a bot views content is not really analogous to the way we view content. Bots are very singular in purpose, and if your video doesn’t contain the specific thing a bot is looking for, the bot won’t have anything to report about it.
This is relevant because a great deal—perhaps the vast majority—of reasons why YouTube might be viewing your private content can actually be taken care of by bots. This is an ideal world for YouTube since bots are cheaper, faster, and there is no risk of privacy violations. This should also put your mind at ease since you know bots are not going to judge you for any embarrassing content you’re not ready for the world to see.
Copyright Grey Area
Copyright violations are flagged by the aforementioned bots even if the content is private, this much we know. What is less clear, however, is the process after that. Copyright holders have the ability to review a copyright violation—especially when it is appealed—but do they still get that same ability when the potential violation is in a private video?
Clearly, there are some questions that would be nice to have YouTube answer explicitly.
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While you are probably safe from having YouTube employees sneakily watching your private videos in the vast majority of cases, we find still find it best to just assume that there is no such thing as truly private when it comes to putting content online using free services such as YouTube. That way, you’ll never be caught off guard if it happens!
Top 5 Tools To Get You Started on YouTube
Very quickly before you go here are 5 amazing tools I have used every day to grow my YouTube channel from 0 to 30K subscribers in the last 12 months that I could not live without.
1. VidIQ helps boost my views and get found in search
I almost exclusively switched to VidIQ from a rival in 2020.
2. Adobe Creative Suite helps me craft amazing looking thumbnails and eye-catching videos
I have been making youtube videos on and off since 2013.
When I first started I threw things together in Window Movie Maker, cringed at how it looked but thought “that’s the best I can do so it’ll have to do”.
I soon realized the move time you put into your editing and the more engaging your thumbnails are the more views you will get and the more people will trust you enough to subscribe.
That is why I took the plunge and invested in my editing and design process with Adobe Creative Suite. They offer a WIDE range of tools to help make amazing videos, simple to use tools for overlays, graphics, one click tools to fix your audio and the very powerful Photoshop graphics program to make eye-catching thumbnails.
Best of all you can get a free trial for 30 days on their website, a discount if you are a student and if you are a regular human being it starts from as little as £9 per month if you want to commit to a plan.
3. Rev.com helps people read my videos
You can’t always listen to a video.
Maybe you’re on a bus, a train or sat in a living room with a 5 year old singing baby shark on loop… for HOURS. Or, you are trying to make as little noise as possible while your new born is FINALLY sleeping.
This is where Rev can help you or your audience consume your content on the go, in silence or in a language not native to the video.
Rev.com can help you translate your videos, transcribe your videos, add subtitles and even convert those subtitles into other languages – all from just $1.50 per minute.
A GREAT way to find an audience and keep them hooked no matter where they are watching your content.
4. PlaceIT can help you STAND OUT on YouTube
I SUCK at making anything flashy or arty.
I have every intention in the world to make something that looks cool but im about as artistic as a dropped ice-cream cone on the web windy day.
That is why I could not live on YouTube without someone like PlaceIT. They offer custom YouTube Banners, Avatars, YouTube Video Intros and YouTube End Screen Templates that are easy to edit with simple click, upload wizard to help you make amazing professional graphics in minutes.
Best of all, some of their templates are FREE! or you can pay a small fee if you want to go for their slightly more premium designs (pst – I always used the free ones).
5. StoryBlocks helps me add amazing video b-roll cutaways
I mainly make tutorials and talking head videos.
And in this modern world this can be a little boring if you don’t see something funky every once in a while.
I try with overlays, jump cuts and being funny but my secret weapon is b-roll overlay content.
I can talk about skydiving, food, money, kids, cats – ANYTHING I WANT – with a quick search on the StoryBlocks website I can find a great looking clip to overlay on my videos, keeping them entertained and watching for longer.
They have a wide library of videos, graphics, images and even a video maker tool and it wont break the bank with plans starting from as little as £8.25 ($9) per month.