YouTube has recently released new updates to its platform — removing the option to hide channel subscriber counts and adding a new, stricter setting to its auto-moderation tools in an effort to reduce spam and misuse.
To begin with, regarding subscriber counts, YouTube channels already have the option to hide their subscriber count, which some users may choose if they believe it may scare away viewers or undermine their trustworthiness.
However, YouTube has discovered that channels mimicking platform stars frequently use this function as well.
According to YouTube:
“While we’re aware that some creators find this feature valuable, as YouTube grows, we found it is often used to impersonate channels. Bad actors often lure people to their channel page by impersonating other creators in comments. And now, channels will no longer be able to hide their subscriber pens on YouTube.”
This isn't strictly a problem with the channels themselves, but it might be difficult for normal users to tell whether a user posting in the comments is imitating a well-known YouTuber if they are hiding their subscriber numbers.
As a result, users can now immediately tell that a comment isn't coming from a famous star because the follower count is just in the single digits, rendering these scammers having fewer ways to hide their identity.
Although some users would rather not have their subscription count displayed, it's still a welcome change, and it seems like a little price to pay for the app's greater security and transparency.
However, it could be time to delete your YouTube account if you've been lying to people and saying that you have more subscribers than you actually have.
Also, according to YouTube, the change will take effect by the end of July.
By increasing the 'strictness' of the auto-moderation tool for their channel, YouTube is also enabling channel managers to screen out spam comments.
As seen here, the new, improved strictness option will appear under your channel settings, with a simple checkbox labeled 'Increase Strictness.'
“Turning on these settings will increase detection settings for potentially inappropriate comments and spam. With this new stronger setting, you should notice more spam and solicitations being automatically filtered under your Held for Review tab rather than making it through to your audience.”
Last but not least, YouTube is also introducing new restrictions on the number of special characters that users may use in the name of their Channel.
“Using special characters in channel names is another way that bad actors impersonate established channels. So we’re reducing the character set that creators can choose from when updating their name moving forward.”
In essence, this will make it more difficult for individuals to imitate channels by employing characters that resemble letters and numbers, which can lead to confusion and increase misrepresentation.
When taken together, these seemingly insignificant adjustments could have a big impact as YouTube seeks to thwart fraudsters who would use its app to deceive unwary users.
With 2 billion viewers, YouTube has tremendous potential for scams, thus every stage in this process is important.