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Can Others See What I Watch on YouTube?

It’s no secret that YouTube tracks your activity, interests and viewing habits in an effort to provide you with a carefully curated user experience. This is the norm for social media platforms, and it helps YouTube supply you with relevant video suggestions and advertisements. So, YouTube knows exactly what you are watching.

Thanks to the “History” section of your profile, you can view your entire activity history too. The question is, can others see what you watch on YouTube?

The SImple Answer

The good news is that your YouTube watch history is 100% inaccessible to other users, even content creators themselves. There is no way for anyone outside of YouTube or Google (as YouTube’s owners) to access your viewing history without access to your account.

And for those companies, your activity is only of interest because of how it can help them tailor your experience on the service. Put simply, your viewing privacy is safe.

One Caveat

There is one caveat to that promise of privacy. Anyone who has access to your account will have access to your viewing history. Therefore, every device that has your YouTube login information stored within it (PCs, smartphones, games consoles, etc.) will act as a record of your activity.

If your viewing habits are something that you’d rather keep private, remain cautious of where you log in to your YouTube account. Is there a Smart TV or games console in your living room? Consider keeping your account separate from that device. You don’t know who will be using it.

Can I Erase my Search History?

Yes. Viewing, erasing and even pausing your watch history can all be done in the same place. YouTube even provides a simple tutorial for doing so in web browsers, on Android and with iOS.

What Information is Public?

While your viewing activity, ‘liked videos’ playlist and your subscriptions are all made private by default, the latter two can be made public if you wish. Click on the above links for a tutorial on making the respective information public.

What About YouTube Family Plans?

Family plans are a cost-saving method of sharing a paid YouTube membership among family members living in the same household. It would be reasonable to assume that accounts covered by the same family plan would be able to access (or even share) viewing history.

This, however, is not the case. Even if several accounts are connected by the YouTube family plan, they will not share viewing history. As YouTube states: “your viewing and listening preferences are all your own”.

Conclusion

Privacy is a major concern for the discerning web user. Thankfully, YouTube takes a cautious approach to its users’ activity by making watch history private. Even with the freedom YouTube provides its users to share information publicly, there is no way to publicly expose a viewer’s watch history.

If you are concerned that your private online interests might be available for friends, strangers or employers to see, don’t be. Your history is safe from the public eye.

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Author

  • Jamie is a freelance writer who boldly asks the questions nobody else wants, or cares, to find the answer to. He believes there’s something interesting to discover in even the most unassuming topics—from hydroelectric power to memory foam mattresses—and that’s the reason he’s excited to write about it all. When his fingers aren’t doing their little dance over the keyboard, Jamie can be found running or watching something terrible at the cinema.

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