If you noticed yesterday that your YouTube subscriber count suddenly plummeted overnight, you’re not alone.
“There was a ‘dead subscriber scrub’ on YouTube,” the creator Philip DeFranco tweeted yesterday. “Many ‘Tubers are claiming it removed active subs. Make sure you still follow your faves.” He jokingly added: “I heard YouTube deleted so many subs today that they are sending people to take back PewDiePie‘s diamond plaque.” (PewDiePie is reported to have lost more than 600,000 subscribers in the so-called purge.)
Other creators also reported substantial losses. ProSyndicate said he lost as many as 100,000 subscribers, taking him below the 10 million subscriber threshold, TypicalGamer said he lost over 50,000 followers, Chris Smoove lost 34,000, and FaZe Censor said he lost as many as 25,000 subscribers.
As creators were sent into a tizzy yesterday, YouTube posted on Twitter that it was looking into the problem, before ultimately sharing this link on its Help page. “We take the relationship between our content creators and their subscribers seriously and work hard to keep those numbers accurate by filtering out suspicious activity around the clock,” the company said. “We recently discovered a bug that prevented changes in subscriber counts from being accurately displayed publicly on creators’ channels.”
YouTube added that “The bug did not affect subscriber counts reflected on YouTube Analytics, where you have had access to accurate subscriber numbers.”
In 2014, YouTube implemented a process to ensure accurate subscriber counts, and started removing suspended accounts from the platform. The company also says that it regularly works to remove subscribers that have been purchased from third-party websites or exchanged on ‘Sub4sub’ services.