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‘Why does YouTube do dumb things?’: Checkmark overhaul leaves creators FURIOUS

‘Why does YouTube do dumb things?’: Checkmark overhaul leaves creators FURIOUS
YouTube has stripped all of its channels of automatic verification. From now on the platform will decide who to verify with a checkmark – and who to ignore. The move has content creators livid.

Unlike Twitter’s policy of assigning the coveted blue checkmark to users who prove their identity, YouTube has automatically verified any channel passing 100,000 subscribers, until now. The company – a subsidiary of Google – announced an overhaul on Thursday.

Starting in October, YouTube’s team will decide who to verify based on a few outlined criteria. Those include a channel’s popularity, its presence outside YouTube, and whether similarly-named channels exist that could confuse users.

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There is more: all channels verified under the old rules have been stripped of that status and, crucially, “there is no process to request channel verification.”

Creators were furious, and took to Twitter to vent at the change. “Keep the surprises coming YouTube,”wrote one vlogger, “I bet you’re fun at parties.”

“Being verified on youtube doesn't REALLY matter,” mused another, “but it feels like a slap in the damn face to get this email after working my a** off for 7 years.”

Some called the move a way of “cleaning house,” or an effort to edge out independent creators in favor of wealthy and powerful mainstream channels.

YouTube explained that changes to the verification were implemented because “people often associated the checkmark with an endorsement of content, not identity.” 

“As YouTube has grown and become more complex, we need a new way to verify the identity of channels and help you find the official channel you’re looking for,” the company said in a blog post.

YouTube’s prior ‘cleanup’ efforts have been equally ham-fisted. An update to the platform’s “hateful content” policies in June led to a removal of blatant neo-Nazi and white supremacist videos, but also to the removal of a swathe of controversial vlogs and even serious journalistic videos covering violent ideologies neutrally.

With no way to ask for verification, and YouTube’s persistent efforts to lead viewers to the “correct” content, if the worst fears of the unverified come to pass, the new system will really help people find the “official” channel they weren’t necessarily looking for, but YouTube wanted them to find.

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