Public relations and business professionals with Gmail accounts should take note of the latest warning by Google to delete millions of inactive Gmail accounts by December 1.
Users who haven’t used their account for at least two years face losing access to their inbox and everything stored within it – including photos and videos.
Announcing the new policy, Google said it would send multiple notifications to users whose accounts will be deleted and has now begun this process ahead of the purge – which starts on December 1. However, announcing the policy, Google said accounts that had been used to upload YouTube videos would not be deleted.
‘We are updating our inactivity policy for Google Accounts to two years across our products,’ said Google’s vice president of product management Ruth Kricheli. “This update aligns our policy with industry standards around retention and account deletion and also limits the amount of time Google retains your unused personal information.’
The tech giant’s move is in response to security concerns. Abandoned accounts are often vulnerable to attack, both because they are less likely to have two-factor authentication enabled, and because they typically use old passwords that may have been subject to a security breach, meaning they could be available on the dark web.
If an attacker gains access to an inactive account, they may be able to use it to access other accounts or to spread malware.
Will public relations agencies be affected by this Google move? Yes of course.
Many PR agencies and communications practitioners will be caught off guard by the action of Google to delete inactive Gmail accounts. Personal and business Gmail accounts are used by many PR professionals and have important data, photos, and videos stored in those accounts.
Fraudsters could also use dormant Gmail accounts to access other legitimate email accounts and compromise the systems of the PR agencies.