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YouTube strips some creators’ verified status, raises bar for tick mark

Google-owned YouTube on Thursday (September 19) announced a big overhaul in its verification programs for channels associated on the platform. The company now makes it harder for channels to receive verification badge indicating their authenticity.

Like other social platforms, YouTube too indicates to viewers that certain channels are officially run by creator/company they represent with a checkmark icon. But YouTube in its official blog claims that users associated the checkmark with endorsement of content and not identity and hence reviewing its verification process.

“Through our research, we found that viewers often associated the checkmark with an endorsement of content, not identity. To reduce confusion about what being verified means, we’re introducing a new look that helps distinguish the official channel of the creator, celebrity or brand it represents,” YouTube said in the blog.

The change will be effective late October, the company announced.

Under our current eligibility requirements, channels with more than 100,000 subscribers can be verified regardless of need for proof of authenticity.

But instead of going by the number of subscribers, a metric that can be manipulated by bots, the new system lays emphasis on the prominence.

The new norm will focus on two things—authenticity (is there a real need for the creator to prove its authenticity) and prominence (whether does this channel represent a well-known or highly searched creator or widely recognized outside of YouTube).

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Not many agree with the company’s move. Complaints poured in on other social platforms like Facebook and Twitter against Youtube’s decision.

Nikhil Pahwa, founder of Medianama, says Google was using this as an excuse to remove many people on their platform.

“In the past when Google changed its search algorithm, entire businesses were wiped out. The collateral damages caused by the changes made by the company are huge and have a massive impact. It’s quite disturbing,” Pahwa says.

“All of this automated and there is no application of mind. There has to be some kind of regulatory action on how they do it,” he adds.

After the changes were announced on Thursday, it caused outrage among some of the verified creators who claimed their verified statuses were revoked because of the new requirements.

Youtube responded to their complaint saying this was just an advanced notice and one can always appeal.

In December last year, the company ran a massive spam check and removed thousands of fake accounts. The new changes comes as the company faces an onslaught of pressure for recommending content related to child exploitation and extremism.

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