YouTube is making a slight but critical change to unlisted videos that were uploaded before Jan. 1, 2017, when the video giant rolled out a security update.
Beginning on July 23, 2021, all unlisted videos will automatically be made private — unless creators take action. (Whereas unlisted videos can be viewed and shared by anyone with a link, but don’t show up in search results, private videos must be shared via individual invites to a max of 50 other YouTube accounts).
In a blog post, YouTube explained that it is making the transition because of a security update it rolled out in 2017 that included enhancements that made it even harder to discover unlisted links. Social Media Today notes that prior to the update, some unlisted videos were showing up in search results.
YouTube will be notifying creators directly if their videos will be impacted, and creators will have several options to respond — though they must do so before July 23.
First, creators can opt out of the change by filling out this form, which will keep unlisted videos in their current state (though they won’t receive the benefits of the 2017 security update). YouTube says it recommends this option if creators are currently treating their unlisted videos like public ones, with clips that have been shared to social media or embedded across the web. Creators can also choose to make their unlisted videos public, whereupon they will be visible to anyone on YouTube. And finally, creators can reupload their videos as new, unlisted videos — though any associated data, including views and comments, won’t transfer over.
“These videos are not new and therefore receive less traffic, which we hope will minimize disruption,” YouTube said of the changes.