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Protecting your Privacy on YouTube

Hey 👋 YouTubers!

Today I’d like to share how I learned to protect 🛡️ my privacy on YouTube after I had a privacy scare of my own.

It all started off very innocently – a YouTuber called 📞 my office to request a cease and desist letter 📝 to help with trolls who were stealing and reposting her content to their channels.

However, I made a huge mistake by calling her back from my cell phone 📱.

When I told her I couldn’t take on the assignment, the privacy disaster of my life occurred. 

For the next two weeks, she bombarded me with hateful calls and text messages; she even mentioned my children 👨‍👦‍👦 by name!

Invasions of privacy such as these should not happen to anyone. In fact, over 150 countries all over the world 🌎 recognize the human right of #freedom from interference and intimation of body, mind, spirit, ideas, and secrets. 

In order to help you avoid succumbing to privacy issues like I did, I’ve decided to share with you what I’ve learned about protecting myself on YouTube.

⚔️ Turn off public access to your YouTube activity feed

If you enter your channel URL 🔗 into an Internet 🌐 browser followed by a slash and the word “feed,” you – or anyone else who conducts the search – can view all of your channel’s activities. 

In order to turn off public access to this activity feed, you must first visit YouTube, click on your channel icon, and select “Settings” ⚙️. 

From there, click on “Privacy” and look to the center of the page for small checkboxes ☑️ underneath the headline “#Likes and #subscriptions”. 

If you keep these boxes unchecked, the public can view which videos you’ve liked 👍 as well as your private playlists and subscriptions.

If you’re like me and subscribe to some pretty odd channels like Camera Conspiracies, you’ll probably want to keep that info private. 

⚔️ Modify ad personalization

If you didn’t know this already, YouTube fair use and Google actually track your name, email 📧, birthday 🎈, and country of origin. 

They also keep track of the videos you watch and the ads you click 🖱️ on. 

While Google does not sell 💲 this data directly to third parties, third-party vendors who want to access specific audiences can do so by paying Google a fee. 

For example, if Canon wants to sell cameras 📷, they might pay Google to show their ads to #customers who bought Canon cameras within the past two years.

If third-party access to your private information makes you feel uncomfortable, you can disable ad personalization on your YouTube settings by finding the “Google ad settings” below the “Likes and subscription” section.

When you click on “Google ad settings”, you’ll be redirected to a screen called “Ad personalization”. 

If you want to completely stop 🛑 Google ad personalization, click the switch button next to the words “Google ad personalization is ON”. 

This will launch a pop-up window. Click “Turn off” to complete the process.

Alternatively, if you’d like to keep personalized ads but modify which ads you’re shown, you can click on the “MORE OPTIONS” link on the ad personalization page.

From here, you can stop third-party vendors from obtaining your #browsing practices and history from Google.

Also on the ad personalization page, you can scroll down to the section entitled “How your ads are personalized” and actually view all the subjects that Google and YouTube think you enjoy.

For example, if home 🏠 automation is one of these items, but you really have no desire to see home automation ads, you can turn them off! Feel free to scroll through and turn off any or all ad categories you choose.

However, remember that turning off all personalized ads will probably lead YouTube to show you some pretty random ones, which may not be any better.

⚔️ Delete your watch history

I always recommend that my clients delete their watch history every week or so because believe it or not, Google actually tracks every video you watch 👀 and like.

If you re-visit your channel’s home page, you’ll find a “History” tab on the left-hand side.

Once you’ve accessed all of your watched videos, you can delete them by hovering over a video and pressing “X”. If you’d like, you can also delete all of your watch history by clicking “CLEAR ALL WATCH HISTORY” on the right-hand toolbar ⚒️. 

Deleting your watch history will ensure that no one can find out what you’ve been watching and doing on YouTube.

On the same right-hand side toolbar, you will see a “Live #Chat” section. Once it’s opened, you can hover over individual comments from your live chat 💬 and delete whichever you’d like.

Similarly, you can find your search and comment histories here. These histories can be deleted in the same manner as your watched videos and live chat.

⚔️ Keep your personal space 

If you’re a YouTuber who is consistently posting videos with a dedicated #fanbase 👯, your audience is going to feel like they know you.

Sometimes, this gives your viewers the justification to invade your personal space.

To keep yourself safe, make sure you never show your personal or business 🏢 address online. 

Additionally, avoid shooting things like #license plates 🚗, #IDs 💳, airplane ✈️ tickets, and #receipts 📜 in your videos. These are all things people can use to find your location.

⚔️ Protect your friends and family

When you’re a public figure, it’s important to explain to your family 👨‍👨‍👧‍👦 and friends 👫 what that means for them, especially if they’re ever on camera 📹.

Unfortunately, anyone who puts themselves in the public eye on social media will be criticized and subjected to negative comments. 

Remember to explain to your loved ones why they should keep in mind all of the same privacy strategies you’ll now be using online.

Stay safe, creators! ✌️