Officially, Google is deleting inactive accounts as part of its updated security policy, as these dormant accounts are often targeted by scammers for malicious activity. This includes spamming (sending unwanted messages to large groups), and identity theft, through accessing account holders’ personal information.
Google’s VP of product management, Ruth Kricheli, explained in Google’s blog site, Keyword, that inactive accounts are more likely to be compromised because users rarely check their security, the passwords are usually old or re-used, and the accounts were not set up with two-factor authentication, which requires, for example, users verify their identity by confirming a code that Google sends to their phone.
“Our internal analysis shows abandoned accounts are at least 10x less likely than active accounts to have 2-step-verification set up,” Kricheli wrote in May.
“Meaning, these accounts are often vulnerable, and once an account is compromised, it can be used for anything from identity theft to a vector for unwanted or even malicious content, like spam.”
Naturally, there are some simple reasons as well. All of those old Google accounts take up a lot of storage space—as well as names and email addresses—that no doubt Google is keen to free up.