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YouTube U-turn on status ID overhaul

September 23, 2019

YouTube has reversed a decision that would have seen many of its popular video-streamers stripped of their ‘verified’ status badge.

The proposed change was supposed to make the ID check more rigorous and help remove impersonators. Instead, the change was seen as stripping established YouTubers of their standing and hobbling their chances to prosper on the video-sharing site.

YouTube boss Susan Wojcicki apologised and said the policy change had “missed the mark”.

When it was first introduced the ‘verified’ badge was designed to be a guarantee of identity to help people searching for a specific person, organisation or channel. The badge was given to YouTube channels with more than 100,000 subscribers. But the company said it had become an endorsement of content rather than just an ID check and was in need of reform.

Under the change, only “prominent channels that have a clear need for proof of authenticity” would be verified, while many others would lose the mark. The threatened removal prompted widespread protests by established YouTubers, many of whom said the verification mark helped them establish their authority and longevity on the site.

Consequently, YouTube has now declared it is largely reversing the changes it had proposed.

“We heard loud and clear how much the badge means to you,” it said in a blog. All those channels that currently have the verification badge will keep them, but in future badges will not automatically be bestowed on channels that cross the 100,000-subscriber mark. Only those that need a guarantee of their identity, because they represent a brand or entity that is in danger of widespread impersonation, will be eligible.”

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