YouTube Apologizes, Reverses Course After Creators Balk At Verification Update

By 09/23/2019
YouTube Apologizes, Reverses Course After Creators Balk At Verification Update

YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki apologized on Friday for an update last week that infuriated countless creators: YouTube had changed the eligibility requirements surrounding verification, and sent letters to many prominent channels stating that their status could be stripped.

Now, YouTube is reversing course. No users will be stripped of their verification status, product manager Jonathan McPhie wrote in an update on the company’s blog, and the verification application system will reopen in late October, functioning much like it used to. (This latter change is also notable given that YouTube previously said that it was going to sunset the application process in order to proactively and automatically assign verification to the channels it determined needed it most).

“I’m sorry for the frustration and hurt that we caused with our new approach to verification,” Wojcicki tweeted on Friday (below). “While trying to make improvements, we missed the mark.”

The new look of verification — a grey swipe across a channel’s name — will still stand, though it’s not rolling out until early next year, as opposed to the intended October launch. YouTube previously said that it was getting rid of the check mark or music note (for musicians) next to channel names as signifiers of verification because both are relatively easy to forge, seem to suggest endorsement on YouTube’s behalf, and weren’t being distributed consistently across the YouTube platform (including posts, live chats, comments, and Stories).

However, it was not the look, but the new eligibility rules, that angered creators most. Before reversing course, YouTube said that it would look at two factors in assessing verification: authenticity (proof that the channel belongs to a user) and prominence (proof that the channel is well-known, highly searched, widely-recognized outside of YouTube, and frequently confused with other channels of similar names).

Looking forward, however, channels will only need to have 100,000 subscribers, and be deemed authentic and “complete” in order to be verified (pictured above). Authentic means that the channel belongs to the real creator, brand, or entity that it claims to be, while complete means that the channel is active and public with a description, channel icon, and content.

“We heard loud and clear how much the badge means to you,” McPhie concluded. “Channels that already have the verification badge will now keep it and don’t have to appeal. We’ll continue reviewing those channels to ensure we’re protecting creators from impersonation. Just like in the past, all channels that have over 100,000 subscribers will still be eligible to apply. We’ll reopen the application process by the end of October.”

Additional details about the eligibility system are available here.