In what appears to be a move to reduce 'gamification' of social media, YouTube will no longer display the exact subscriber counts publicly. Instead of the full count, the figure will be abbreviated to the number of users subscribed to a channel. Google wants “to create more consistency everywhere that we publicly display subscriber counts.” According to their blog post:
Currently, all creators with over 1,000 subscribers see their subscriber counts displayed differently in different places across YouTube desktop and mobile apps. In some cases, the subscriber count is abbreviated (e.g., 133k) and in other places we display the full count (e.g., 133,017).
Later this year, all platforms including the desktop website and mobile apps will show a truncated version of the subscriber count. The only accounts excluded are those with under 1,000 followers, with the exact figure being displayed until the count has been reached. Creators will still have access to the exact figure in YouTube Studio. Here are some examples of how YouTube will look under the new system.
- If a channel has 4,227 subscribers, the public subscriber count will read “4.2k” until the channel reaches 4,300.
- If a channel has 133,017 subscribers, the public subscriber count will read “133K” until the channel reaches 134,000.
- If a channel has 51,389,232, the public subscriber count will read “51M” until the channel reaches 52,000,000.
Even other platforms are testing similar product changes. Instagram is reportedly considering a feature that would disable showing how many likes a photo received to reduce stress on the users. Similarly, Reddit moderators have the option to hide comment scores and vote numbers in an effort to discourage vote manipulation and brigading. Even Twitter is planning on hiding features such as likes and retweets. YouTube should roll out the change by August, and we'll know more about it in the coming weeks.