YouTube is adding two key updates today to its verification program — the system that serves to denote the official accounts of public figures whether they be native creators, musicians, or companies.
YouTube is overhauling the look of how verification appears on profiles, and is also instituting new eligibility requirements — with both changes slated to roll out in late October, the company said.
First, the new look will dispose of the current checkmark in favor of a grey swipe across the username (as pictured above). “Through our research, we found that viewers often associated the checkmark with an endorsement of content, not identity,” YouTube product manager Jonathan McPhie wrote in a company blog post. YouTube also said that the grey highlight will serve to redress two other problems with the checkmark: it is easy to be forged by unverified users, and it has been displayed inconsistently across posts, live chats, comments, Stories and more. The grey swipe aims to be more neutral, more closely attached to the channel name, and cannot be forged, YouTube says.
The swipe will also replace the music note, which YouTube uses to denote Official Artists Channels (below).
Additionally, YouTube is changing the eligibility requirements for verification, which currently state that channels with more than 100,000 subscribers can be verified without needing to prove their authenticity. Now, given that the YouTube ecosystem as grown substantially and the risk of impersonation has amplified, YouTube says that verified channels will need to prove their authenticity (that the channel belongs to them) as well as their prominence (that the channel is well-known, highly searched, widely recognized outside of YouTube, and frequently confused with other channels of similar names).
YouTube says that channels that already meet the new requirements will not need to reapply for verification; it will be applied automatically. However, channels that no longer meet the criteria will be notified tomorrow and have the option to appeal.
Going forward, YouTube says that the new criteria will prioritize the verification of prominent channels — such as Bon Appetit magazine — that are particularly at risk of impersonation given that the phrase ‘Bon Appetit’ is common across numerous cultures, and there are hundreds of channels with that name.