YouTube stars rattled by verification changes

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YouTube logoImage source, Getty Images

Changes to the way YouTube "verifies" channels by celebrities and brands have upset some of the platform's stars.

YouTube said it wanted to "reduce confusion" as viewers "often associated the checkmark with an endorsement of content, not identity".

Some video-makers who currently have a "verified badge" on their channel will lose the icon as part of the changes.

But many expressed disappointment after being told their channel would lose the verified status.

YouTube said under its current system, channels with more than 100,000 subscribers could be verified without actually proving their authenticity.

Under the new rules, only "prominent channels that have a clear need for proof of authenticity" will be verified.

It said channels representing "well-known or highly searched creators, artists, public figures or companies" would be eligible.

It had emailed creators that will lose their verified status, but they will have the chance to appeal against the decision.

YouTube will also change how the verified status is displayed.

Image source, YouTube
Image caption,
The way verified status appears will also change

It currently shows a grey circle with a white tick next to channel names that have been verified, or a musical note for singers and musicians.

But YouTube said this was often seen as an "endorsement". Some people also tried to replicate the icon by adding an emoji to their channel name.

Instead, verified channel names will now be highlighted with a grey background.

"The new look will be displayed more consistently across channel pages, search and comments, and is more difficult to replicate, so that viewers can be sure of a channel's identity," YouTube said in a blog post.

Many video-makers saw the verified badge as a status symbol and were disappointed when they were told it would be removed.

"YouTube is taking away my verification. I am livid," said 14-year-old video-maker Makenna, who runs the Life with MaK channel.

"YouTube could have run a basic algorithm to prevent channels with one million [subscribers] from being automatically unverified," she said.

Another video-maker, Sierra Schultzzie, added: "Been doing YouTube for five years, I post two videos a week, 950,000 subscribers... YouTube emails me today that my channel has been 'unverified' because the verified badge is only for well-known channels with a large following.

"Literally no-one asked for this."