YouTube to Purge Spam Accounts This Week, Creators May See a ‘Noticeable’ Decrease in Subscriber Count

YouTube has just announced today that the company is about to start purging fake subscribers from the platform this week. Over the next couple of days, all creators are expected to notice a 'noticeable' count in subscribers. The platform has revealed that between December 13th and December 14th, it will be purging spam accounts. YouTube's product forum post explains that the company  identified and fixed “an issue that caused some spam not to be removed.”

Heads up that on December 13-14, 2018 you may see a noticeable decrease in your subscriber count as we remove spam subscriptions from your channel. We regularly verify the legitimacy of accounts and actions on your YouTube channel. We’ve recently identified and fixed an issue that caused some spam not to be removed. Today/tomorrow, we’ll be taking action and removing subscribers that were in fact spam from our systems. Removing spam from the platform helps ensure that YouTube remains a fair playing field for everyone and should result in higher confidence that you’re organically building a community of authentic fans.

We know you may have some questions about this so we’re sharing additional information below. Read on for answers to some common questions!

  • How do I know if I had spam subscriptions? If we removed spam subscribers from your channel’s subscriber count, you’ll see a banner in YouTube Studio or Classic Creator Studio (this is rolling out over the next few days).
  • How do you know these are spam and not people wanting to subscribe to my channel? We use a mix of industry leading techniques and proprietary technology to identify spam on the platform. Often, these types of actions are meant to make channels look more popular than they actually are.
  • Why does my channel have spam subscribers? In an attempt to hide their behavior, spam services tend to subscribe to a variety of channels, instead of just subscribing to the channel that purchased the spam.
  • How will this affect watch time on my channel? Since these are artificial actions, we do not expect removing these will impact watch time.
  • What if I have fallen below the YouTube Partner Program (YPP) threshold of 1,000 subscriptions as a result of the removal? Channels that had a high percentage of spam and fall below 1,000 subscribers will no longer meet the minimum requirement for YPP and will be removed from the program.  They are encouraged to reapply once they’ve rebuilt their subscribers organically. You can learn about how to apply for YPP here.
  • What does YouTube do about spam? We’ve spent years building out our advanced technology to identify spam on the platform — it uses advanced statistics, machine learning, label propagation, anomaly detection and manual review.

YouTube users will be notified in the next few days if their account was affected by fake subscribers. Affected creators will see a note from YouTube in the Creator Studio. Channels around 1,000 subscribers who fall below the threshold for the YouTube Partner Program will need to reapply once they’ve reached that total once again. We can expect a lot of drama on YouTube in the coming days, especially from larger channels which may or may not have engaged in shady practices.

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