YouTube makes more changes

YouTube has been making some changes: verification, subscriber count, and copyright.

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“What makes a YouTuber worthy of verification?” is a question that YouTube has recently brought up, when it announced new requirements needed for a content creator to obtain the esteemed verification checkmark next to their name on their YouTube page. In the past, this has allowed creators to keep other people from trying to impersonate their name and their brand. Verification allows a user to protect their identity and to attract more viewers. Now, however, YouTube is making it more difficult for creators to claim this prize. Verification was originally awarded upon either reaching 100k subscribers or applying for verification directly to YouTube.

This is what the new verification badge will look like.

Very soon, however, YouTube may no longer be allowing verification to be a viable opportunity. The new system will look to verify users whose content and popularity outside of YouTube, rather than awarding merit for just being a good YouTuber. More than just subscribers, according to their help center, YouTube also will look for authenticity, prominence, completeness. This new “prominence” requirement is what has been causing the most backlash. By this standard, it seems as if content creators will not only need a noticeable following on YouTube itself, but also represent a brand in the outside world. This means that YouTubers who cannot dedicate themselves to YouTube full time are left behind. Additionally, the change will come with a new look, replacing the iconic checkmark with a simple gray background around the user’s name.

For now, YouTube, noticing a backlash from the community, has decided to postpone the change. With community feedback, YouTube (who was originally going to remove verification from currently verified channels if they didn’t meet the new criteria), will not make creators re-apply for the verification badge. It is important to know that the channel viewers are watching are the real deal, and verification is one of the only ways on the site to make sure of this.

It is good that YouTube is making changes to accommodate for its larger audience, but they should be willing to give the community more opportunity to prove themselves. Verification could be seen as a goal for many smaller channels, as a chance to show that using this social media platform to make a living is a viable option. Luckily, YouTube understands its community enough to listen to their feedback before moving forward with such a controversial change.

Abbreviated Analytics

Another controversial change that YouTube has been looking into has now been introduced: abbreviated analytics. This means that when a user looks at a channel’s subscriber count, they will not see the exact number of subscribers, but rather a rounded version. Once a channel passes the 1000 subscriber count, the abbreviated version will appear on their channel. Even the YouTuber themselves will not know their true subscriber count.

The main reason that YouTube has given for this change is reduce the stress that many YouTubers get from looking at the numbers slowly ticking up or down. They say that they are trying to improve YouTubers’ experience on the platform. However, many YouTubers have reacted negatively to the change, especially because YouTubers want to know when they are close to reaching a new milestone on their channel.

Most notably affected by the change, and likely the real target of the changes, are live subscriber count websites such as SocialBlade. Though they have stated that the only loss that they have will be a live subscriber count, they will continue to automatically update the subscriber count

An example of what the abbreviated subscriber count looks like

to the best of their ability. This has and will continue to allow both content creators and viewers to watch the progress on their channels, which is especially good for taking into account how much your audience is enjoying your content.

The main issue with this change will likely be that content creators will not know how a change in style on their channels will affect their viewership until it is too late. Over the course of a few days, it will be difficult to tell if users are leaving your channel, or even if content is bringing in more viewers. Because changes in subscriber count now take longer to become visible, YouTubers will now be even less able to tell if their content is well-liked or not.

Copyright Issues

The final issue that YouTube has addressed, that seems to always be a problem on YouTube, is copyrighted content. Most notably, they are focusing on music claims, and improving the ability for the system to catch and claim even very small samples from a video. This is to make sure that if a YouTuber is using any amount of content that they do not own, they will be properly dealt with. If the system detects copyrighted content in a video, all of that video’s revenue goes to the owner of the music or content. Fortunately, workers at YouTube have posted a Q&A that content creators can view if they need any clarification.

The main issue with this is when the system is claiming content that the users actually do have the permission to use or rights to use. The system is unreliable and heavily favors the music creators, who are able to abuse the system to collect much more revenue on videos they did not create. Unfortunately, the system does not punish false claims, which means that people with malicious intent are able to gain money they did not earn with no repercussions. While there are ways to dispute these claims, they take a lot of work and require a creator to get the attention of YouTube itself. So, if smaller creators are targeted, they are much more susceptible to losing a lot of money, which will hurt them even more.

So, while YouTube does look out for the users of its platform, they definitely still have a lot of improvement to do in order to create a more beneficial platform. YouTube has allowed people to do so much for themselves, but changes such as those mentioned above rarely help the creators, focusing much more on giving YouTube a positive image for the outside world. It is understandable to have such troubles when they have such a large, ever-growing social media platform to manage, but it is still their duty to make sure the YouTube ecosystem is fair for everyone involved.