Updated Terms of Service FAQs

Starting from November 18, 2020, our Terms of Service are updating in the United States on these specific topics: facial recognition data, YouTube’s right to monetize, and U.S. tax obligations. These Terms will be expanded to the rest of the world in 2021.

Why did you change the Terms of Service?

At YouTube, we periodically update our Terms of Service to make sure they are clear, easy to understand and meet the needs of our partners, advertisers and viewers.

With this update to our Terms of Service, we’re clarifying restrictions around the collection of facial recognition data. We also want to be transparent with you about the rights we take to run ads in various areas of our platform. For example, we run ads on videos, the homepage masthead, and in various search results. This update also clarifies how revenue payments from YouTube will be considered royalty payments from a U.S. tax perspective, and that Google will withhold taxes from these payments as required by law.

What are the main changes?

Here is a summary of the changes:

  • Facial recognition restrictions. The Terms of Service already stated that you cannot collect any information that might identify a person without their permission. While this has always included facial recognition information, the new Terms make that explicitly clear. 
  • YouTube’s right to monetize. As noted in the changes to our Terms of Service, YouTube has the right to monetize all content on the platform. YouTube will begin placing ads on videos from channels not in the YouTube Partner Program as part of this. Learn more in our blog.
  • Royalty payments and tax withholding. If you are entitled to receive payments from YouTube through any other agreement between yourself and YouTube (for example, through the YouTube Partner Program), all such payments will be treated as royalties in the U.S. starting November 18, 2020. Google will withhold taxes from such payments as required by law. Similar changes will be announced for creators outside the U.S. in 2021. 

How will this affect my YPP monetization?

Changes from this Terms of Service update will not affect your YouTube Partner Program (YPP) monetization settings.

For YPP creators in the U.S., the revenue Google pays you will be considered a royalty payment from a U.S. tax perspective effective November 18, 2020. We will begin making similar changes for creators outside the U.S. in 2021. Creators outside of the U.S. will be asked to provide U.S. tax information in AdSense in early 2021 to determine whether any U.S. withholding taxes will apply to their payments.

Does this have to do with the European Union Copyright Directive or GDPR?

No, this doesn’t have anything to do with the European Union Copyright Directive or GDPR.

What does this mean for my privacy or data?

We haven’t made any changes to the way we treat your information. You can read about our privacy practices by reviewing the Privacy Policy and YouTube Kids Privacy Notice. As a reminder, you can always review your privacy settings and manage your data and personalization by visiting your Google Account.

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