Updated Sept. 20, 3:30 p.m., to add a statement from YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki.
Over the past 24 hours, thousands of YouTube creators have been notified that in the upcoming weeks, they’ll be retroactively stripped of their verified status after the platform introduced a new set of elegibility criteria for channel verification.
“We’re writing to let you know that we’re updating the eligibility criteria for channel verification on YouTube. Unfortunately, with the changes, your channel no longer meets the criteria to be verified,” YouTube said in an email sent to affected creators, who will be able to appeal the platform’s decision, yesterday morning. “We realize this might be disappointing, but we believe these updates will make channel verification more consistent for users and creators across YouTube.”
The letter also told creators that YouTube is no longer accepting applications for channels to be verified. Instead, it’ll be automatically, “proactively” identifying channels that should be verified, the platform said. It added that the goal of the update is to “help channels avoid impersonation, and help viewers understand if a channel is the official presence of the creator, celebrity, or brand it represents.”
In an update blog about the change, YouTube provided bullet points detailing the new verification requirements. Under the old system, any channel with more than 100K subscribers could be verified without needing to prove anything. Now, though, YouTube no longer requires creators to have more than 100K subs. Instead, creators need two things to become verified: personal authenticity, plus evidence that they’re a notable, prominent figure.
The platform describes personal authenticity as proof a channel belongs to “the real creator, artist, public figure, or company it claims to represent.” But it’s the prominence half that’s apparently causing a lot of creators to lose their status. YouTube outlined prominence as: “Does this channel represent a well-known or highly searched creator, artist, public figure, or company? Is this channel widely recognize outside of YouTube and have a strong presence online? Is this a popular channel that has a very similar name to many other channels?”
It seems that, if the answer to any of those prominence questions is “no,” YouTube now does not consider the channel in question to be worthy of or in need of verification. (FYI, being verified doesn’t give creators access to any extra features or make the channel more discoverable/likely to be recommended, and YouTube specifically says that verification isn’t a sign that the platform itself endorses a particular creator’s content. Verification does, however, indicate they’re an established presence on YouTube, with a sizeable number of subscribers.)
While this policy change will obviously affect thus-far-unverified creators who were hoping to snag verification in the future, it’s arguably a bigger blow for YouTubers who were already verified under the old rules, and who will soon see their status being revoked.
A number of creators have taken to Twitter to express their disappointment about the policy change, with some alleging this is yet another sign that YouTube is prioritizing content by personalities like Jimmy Fallon, Will Smith, and Zac Efron instead of investing time and attention into its native creator base.
Here’s a roundup of some of the indignation circling through the community in the wake of YouTube’s announcement.
oh, hey! I’m no longer verified on youtube! my 16 year old self that worked her ass off to get that would be happy to know that
— Jessie Paege (@jessiepaege) September 20, 2019
I was out buying a tripod to make a YouTube video when I got this email Hahahahahah!
— Mike Falzone (@MikeFalzone) September 19, 2019
Damn, @YouTube took my verified badge away. 1.2 Million+ subs and it doesn’t even matter. Rest In Peace.
— Goldy (@GoldGloveTV) September 19, 2019
.@YouTube verifications being taken away from top creators is baffling to me. I understand wanting brand accounts to stand out, but it’s the creators who built the platform into what it is today.
— Chris Manning (@LD2K) September 19, 2019
does anyone at youtube use youtube
— dom hofmann (@dhof) September 19, 2019
one day later, after my tweet thread about youtube.
what’s the priority with removing live subscriber counts and now verification? there’s always a larger agenda.
creators need to come together, before our leverage is stifled by the mainstream powers. signs are there, $ talks https://t.co/CWIauCvi6r
— Jesse Tyler Ridgway (@McJuggerNuggets) September 19, 2019
Just lost my verification badge on YouTube because I don’t meet criteria… I have over a million subscribers and have been creating content for 11 years mate.
— JaackMaate (@Jaack) September 19, 2019
Since I’m gonna lose my verification on YouTube, the easiest way to know I’m the real Michael Green is by testing my blood sugar
— Kidbehindacamera (@Lyricoldrap) September 20, 2019
Like yeah it’s verification, who gives a fuck, but also…. know who is on your platform consistently posting, growing, and pulling more views than some people with millions of subscribers 🤡🤡🤡
— CHRIS KLEMENS (@ChrisKlemens) September 19, 2019
creator: works tirelessly for a decade to establish a verified and reliable brand with massive fanbase
— hungrybox (@LiquidHbox) September 19, 2019
Y’all I’m truly sorry if YouTube has fucked with your account. Small creators made YT what it is. Check marks or not. Creativity is being swapped out for money., again. I don’t have a big twitter but drop your links/descriptions of content below for a lil boost if it will help.
— Jahkara J Smith✨ (@SlaylerJ) September 19, 2019
Damn, looking at the tweets of who still has YouTube verification and who lost it… I can’t help but feel like I’ve seen this somewhere before… pic.twitter.com/enALBkmfde
— Andre (@BlackNerd) September 19, 2019
Getting survivors guilt from this YouTube verification purge. I really don’t know what the threshold is because I’ve seen people who get more views than me getting axed. Is a subscriber thing? A manager thing? 🤷♂️ pic.twitter.com/3Ilj8d70zp
— Thomas ‘TomSka’ Ridgewell (@thetomska) September 19, 2019
Yes, I am also losing my YouTube verification status. So any channel that wants to be called Black Nerd Comedy, now’s your chance! pic.twitter.com/QWsBWvzCyj
— Andre (@BlackNerd) September 19, 2019
“Dear [Creator]. We just realized you’re not Jimmy Fallon. We took away your verification as a result of learning this. Please stop trying to succeed as a middle-income creator. Love, Youtube.” pic.twitter.com/eIlYeEsnbM
— Mikey Neumann (@mikeyface) September 19, 2019
I’ve found a lot of channels over the years by seeing a verification checkmark in the comments and being like “Oh, it’s a content creator,” now I’m just gonna have to look at my comments and be like “Oh, it’s Jimmy Fallon or Will Smith, again”
— Jenny Nicholson @ Halloween (@JennyENicholson) September 20, 2019
us: hey youtube, take dangerous abusers off your platform
us: also fix ur notification system so people always know when there’s new content up
us: and pls stop demonetizing videos for no good reason
youtube: update! we have decided to take away everyone’s verification badges
— taylor nicole dean (@taylorndean) September 19, 2019
This is the rudest, most hurtful thing @YTCreators @YouTube – I’ve been a youtuber for 3+ years and it’s my full time job, I have a community of over 250,000+ people around the world and you want to take away my verification? What does that even do for you? pic.twitter.com/2OAHHA3e0M
— Leeor Alexandra (@leeoralexandra) September 19, 2019
So I’m not even really mad about @YouTube trying to remove verification from my channel. Mostly because, in my experience, Youtube does shit like this without really understanding how it feels for the creator. How can you invite me to so much shit and then remove my verification?
— ⚔️Kat Blaque⚔️ (@kat_blaque) September 19, 2019
I’m willing to bet that ZERO creators and viewers ever complained about verification badges being “confusing”… Youtube has lost the fucking plot pic.twitter.com/hW2ikje9aS
— Kavos (@KavosYT) September 19, 2019
YouTube also took to Twitter, posting details about the policy change, as well as this attempt at reassurance:
We’re making this change to help everyone determine whether a channel is the official YouTube presence of the creator they’re looking for. Please know that badge or no badge, you’re an important part of YouTube.
— YouTube Creators (@YTCreators) September 19, 2019
YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki has responded to the swell of creator frustration with this tweet:
To our creators & users–I’m sorry for the frustration & hurt that we caused with our new approach to verification. While trying to make improvements, we missed the mark. As I write this, we’re working to address your concerns & we’ll have more updates soon.
— Susan Wojcicki (@SusanWojcicki) September 20, 2019