I've uploaded 50x 1gb+ video files (they where 1gb+ at the time of upload, but presumably youtube runs some optimisation on them) from my computer to youtube and set them to private for long term storage as I'm low on space on my HD.

These videos will get very little views, if any, as I'm the only one who can view them.

Someone pointed out to me that youtube is a video sharing site, not a video hosting site so I'm not really using it for its intended purpose here.

Can / Will Youtube delete my private videos?

4 Answers 4


I haven't found any official source to that, but basically they will delete private videos only if they violate YouTube's terms (e.g copyright, nudity etc.).

In other words, the only references I could find regarding deleting private videos, were about violations from one kind or another.

So, the fact that a video is private, does not protect it from being deleted.

Note: I haven't read the full YouTube terms, maybe the real answer is laying there.

  • Recently got a video deleted just bcoz it contained music from a Oscar winning music director. But storing porn for years, not a single delete. YouTube's AI is f*ked up!
    – Neeraj
    Commented Feb 8, 2021 at 18:42
  • YES for: Youtube can delete your videos
  • NO for: Youtube will not delete your videos
  • IF for: if your videos (doesn't) violate Terms of Service you agreed upon by creating an account

as you mentioned: "youtube runs some optimization on them" this is true, but there is more behind it... while Youtube re-encodes your uploaded video to fit YT standards and to provide sub-resolution-variations (720p, 480p, 360p etc. to account for smooth playback on the low bandwidths), youtube also runs 3 major bots on your video.

  • the first one checks video track for inappropriate content (like nudity, pornography, gore violence... and also for copyrighted material especially if you turned on adds on your video to gain money - in such scenario, it's very strict) and cross-reference it with internal DB
  • next one checks for trademarks like logos, brands etc by scanning all K-frames of your video
  • and the last one checks audio track, by comparing wave-length and cross-referencing it with their DB, if your file doesn't consist any copyrighted material (this is effective on tv shows which most of them have intro/opening/ending in form of melody/music that can be easily detected - that's why some videos have removed audio track)
  • and then ofcourse DMCA is a supreme tool and there are few cases where even setting the video as Private wouldn't ditch removal

so to sum it up: if your videos are originals and don't violate rules, you can have them set as private and they will never get deleted by Youtube ( * cough * accidents happens)


YouTube has the right to delete your video if it is against YouTube's Terms of Use. If your videos do not violate the Terms of Use, the videos will stay there forever.


Maybe the answer is in https://www.reddit.com/r/youtube/comments/6r0hli/unlistedprivate_videos_suddenly_deleted_from_my/

When I go to my channel and click "Videos", videos that are tagged as "Unlisted" are not shown there. You have to click "Customize Channel" and then on videos again to see everything. Kinda stupid, but whatever.

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