Ahead of YouTube’s new abbreviated subscriber counts launching next week, the platform has posted an update clarifying that this change isn’t just about “creating more consistency everywhere that we publicly display subscriber counts.” It’s also about creators’ mental health.
“We heard a lot of feedback from the community following our announcement in May and wanted to share more about why we’re making the change,” a Team YouTube representative wrote in the update post. “Beyond creating more consistency, this addresses creator concerns about stress and wellbeing, specifically around tracking public subscriber counts in real time. We hope this helps all creators focus on telling their story, and experience less pressure about the numbers.”
The team added, “While we know not everyone will agree with this update, we hope it’s a positive step for the community, both those viewing and creating content.”
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For those who haven’t heard about the change, it’s going to work like this…Channels with fewer than 1,000 subscribers won’t see any change; their subscriber counts will still appear as exact numbers (for example, 752) to the public. Channels with more than 1,000 subscribers, however, will publicly display ‘abbreviated’ counts, aka only three numbers at any one time. You can see how that’ll play out across different numbers of subscribers in the chart below:
This change will only affect channels’ public subscriber count displays. Creators will still be able to see their own current subscriber counts behind the scenes.
YouTube’s update post also reiterated that this change will not only affect YouTube’s own site, it’ll affect the YouTube Data API Service. API stands for application programming interface, and very basically, it’s a means of allowing two software components to talk to one another.
When YouTube pushes out the change, sites like SocialBlade, which have long accessed YouTube’s data via its API so their own software can automatically track creators’ exact subscriber counts down to the second, will have their access to those exact subscriber counts cut off.
After YouTube posted its update yesterday, SocialBlade took to Twitter, saying, “While we’re not happy they’re going this route we’ll be adapting the site to support this change to keep providing you data.”
YouTube announced they are going live with abbreviated subscriber counts in September. While we’re not happy they’re going this route we’ll be adapting the site to support this change to keep providing you data. https://t.co/qyBQP4pvQx
— Social Blade (@SocialBlade) August 29, 2019
We don’t know if this means the site will try to develop a workaround, or if it will simply have to deal with YouTube’s new, less precise display.
It’s worth noting that YouTube isn’t alone in cutting back some public metrics. Instagram has been hiding likes and video views, and Twitter has tossed around the possibility of concealing likes and retweets in users’ feeds.