BY: Lungile Msomi.

Alphabet’s Google will delete accounts that have been inactive, to protect users from security threats like spam, phishing scams and account hijacking.

The company yesterday updated its inactive account policy, saying it will start deleting accounts in December.

Ruth Kricheli, VP of product management at Google, says unused accounts often rely on old or re-used passwords, haven’t had two-factor authentication set up, and receive fewer security checks by the user.

“These accounts are most likely to be compromised even with security tools in place and can be used for anything from identity theft to a vector for unwanted or malicious content,” says Kricheli.

Google says the policy changes will be put into effect carefully and slowly over the next few months. They will apply to personal accounts and content within Google Workspace (Gmail, Docs, Drive, Meet and Calendar), YouTube and Google Photos, and will not affect the accounts of organisations, such as businesses and schools.

The company will take a phased approach and begin with accounts that were created and never used.

“Before deleting an account, we will send multiple notifications over the months leading up to deletion, to both the account e-mail address and the recovery e-mail (if one has been provided),” says Kricheli.

In 2020, Google said it would remove content stored in an inactive account, but not delete the account itself.


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