YouTube just warned thousands of creators to the impending loss of their verification status following vague policy overhauls to their criteria program, leaving contributors to anxiously prepare for the appeals processes to begin in October. Once again, the platform has left users and their businesses with more questions than answers, twisted into a chaotic state of distrust that’s all too frequent for comfort.
Under YouTube’s current system, channels are only required to meet the threshold of over 100,000 subscribers to be considered verified, regardless of any presented identification and community prominence. According to the new emails showcased by The Verge, the platform is now demanding a “clearer need for proof of authenticity” in order for someone to meet the requirements, whether you’re a traditional content creator, musician, comedian, artist, political pundit across the ideological divide or so on.
Creators affected by the decision include:
YouTube channels that are still verified:— Anthony Quintano Twitchcon (@AnthonyQuintano) September 19, 2019
YouTuber Channels that lost their verification:
The White House
Although YouTube failed to disclose details on how the process will work, even directly stating “there is no process” as of this time, their creator blog follow-up indicates they’ll be switching from the standard tick beside a creator’s name to a simple grey swipe, used to deter false accusations of endorsing specific creators, as well as focusing on two key areas:
- “Authenticity: Does this channel belong to the real creator, artist, public figure or company it claims to represent?”
- “Prominence: Does this channel represent a well-known or highly searched creator, artist, public figure or company? Is this channel widely recognized outside of YouTube and have a strong presence online? Is this a popular channel that has a very similar name to many other channels?”
Unlike other verification systems on social media which simply distinguish celebrities from their impersonators, YouTube’s program merges authentication with distribution by using verification badges to help their algorithms decide their top recommendations. Losing this verification not only sows discord in YouTube’s already tense social clout environment, but it also suggests that accounts both prominent and independent will just mesh together into the messy ether of the YouTube marketplace, home to billions of users and countless hours of online video content— which could actually worsen the verification problem they claim to be alleviating.
This can already be demonstrated in the platform’s administration team and their current trial run of the appeals process, indicating the problems are only going to get worse from here. As showcased by Austin McConnell, an independent filmmaker, and part-time YouTuber, the current process demands users to provide their channel URL, to disclose whether they represent a brand name (not a personal name or public figure), and inform whether other channels have similar names. It implements requirements to link every single channel with a similar name (despite providing only a single link bar) and to disclose other social media accounts linked to your identity and any media articles which directly mention the user and the channel.
From this, issues with redundancy, big brother data disclosures, corporate brand bias, careless errors and legal trickery just to avoid platform responsibility should be self-evident. In statements cited by TechCrunch, the platforms admit their previous system was the result of having an eco-system of smaller scope, but given they’ve “become more complex” as the result of Google’s monopoly status — holding a 73% market share of all online video content with over 2–3 billion users across all their entities — the platform has opted to increase its bureaucracy over decreasing its monopolistic load.
Inevitably, this structure has left the platform rife with inefficiency that makes due process administration impossible — which is evident in the recent banning of controversial feminist Laci Green. Over the weekend, YouTube’s AI algorithms and their human admins found that Green had somehow been impersonating herself since the 2014 days of GamerGate, and decided to uphold a permanent ban against her account despite the fact that she held no community guidelines strikes against her name. The ban was only reversed after thousands of users contacted their team through entirely different social media sites like Twitter.
UMMM apparently youtube suspended my channel? but everything is still up, so idk if it's a glitch. i didn't have any strikes or anything.— Laci Green (@gogreen18) September 18, 2019
ugh i upload o n c e and youtube's already trying it
help pls @TeamYouTube @YouTube @YTCreators @YouTubeSpaceLA
well, apparently a real life human at YouTube reviewed my case and upheld the ban. no new youtube video today i guess.— Laci Green (@gogreen18) September 18, 2019
i'm so confused i'm starting to wonder if maybe i did impersonate myself pic.twitter.com/BSdGRJfvM8
update: youtube decided that *i am not impersonating myself* and finally let me back into my account!!— Laci Green (@gogreen18) September 19, 2019
lol @ IMMEDIATELY unverifying me + hundreds of channels less than an hour after clearing false impersonation charges. thanks guys super helpful https://t.co/49QAdl0lLd
Green — a very real person with a following of millions — is the perfect icon of how monopolies lose sight of their own public commonwealth. Even when you’re the symbolic head of the so-called libcuck, SJW, regressive leftist, neo-Marxist, post-modernist, feminazi cause, you still manage to fall through the cracks and are purged from the platform by the click of the button. There’s no telling if such an ordeal could be successfully handled by the average consumer, lost among the billions who inflate the service bubble overdue for a pop. While the platform has only offered crumb reforms like hiring political consultants for creators and a simple video reply option for appeals, displeased critics have felt forced to turn to anti-trust action.
As American lawmakers begin their 50-state anti-trust probe into these big tech institutions, the case for concentrated market abuse against consumers continues to grow by the day. “Google dominates all aspects of advertising on the internet and searching on the internet,” argued Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton from Texas, reading a joint-statement outside the Supreme Court “They dominate the buyer side, the seller side, the auction side, and the video side with YouTube. We will go wherever the facts lead, but will issue top-to-bottom scrutiny of its sprawling business beyond just ads.” Nevertheless, YouTube is still betting their faults will be justified by a reduction in shady user behavior, even if it requires shady behavior by their own doing.