Yesterday YouTube announced that it would be making sweeping changes to its verification program and minutes after the announcement, many creators were abruptly told “your channel no longer meets the criteria to be verified.” The mass verification purge impacted creators with millions of subscribers, creators who have been uploading to the site for over 14 years, and even creators such as MacDoesIt who have been featured in YouTube’s promotional material.
After a mass pushback from the creator community, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki has now apologized for the “frustration & hurt” that these changes caused and hinted that YouTube will be changing the verification program to address these concerns.
Wojcicki posted the apology to Twitter and it reads:
“To our creators & users–I’m sorry for the frustration & hurt that we caused with our new approach to verification. While trying to make improvements, we missed the mark. As I write this, we're working to address your concerns & we’ll have more updates soon.”
To our creators & users–I’m sorry for the frustration & hurt that we caused with our new approach to verification. While trying to make improvements, we missed the mark. As I write this, we're working to address your concerns & we’ll have more updates soon.
— Susan Wojcicki (@SusanWojcicki) September 20, 2019
While the apology doesn’t contain any specifics, the last line suggests that some changes which make it easier for creators to get verified or retain their verification will now be added to this new verification program.
The response to Wojcicki’s apology has been mixed with some people questioning YouTube’s claims that it had consulted with the creator community before it announced this new verification program.
I thought you talked to creators about it 🙃
— a6d (@a6doff) September 20, 2019
Talk to Creators, not wannabe Celebrities. I'm sure the answers will start to flow.
— 💀 LORD VEGA 💀 (@TheLordVega) September 20, 2019
Other people are hopeful that Wojcicki’s apology is a sign that YouTube will either revert these changes or make changes to the verification program that address creator concerns.
Lets all hope you actually do. You've got a chance. Don't waste it pic.twitter.com/qPem9dWRpA
— ๖̶̶̶ζ͜͡Chigo-Senpai 🦉 ~Gekyume~ (@Chigo_Senpai) September 20, 2019
I hope that you can revert the changes 👍
— Nathaniel Bandy (@NathanielBandy1) September 20, 2019
Wojcicki’s apology comes after tensions have been growing between YouTube and its creator community over several recent changes to the platform. Earlier this month, YouTube warned creators who are popular with kids to brace themselves for “significant business impact” as a result of upcoming changes to the platform. YouTube also recently released statistics showing that its “hate speech” rules resulted in a 5x increase in video removals in Q2 2019 – rules that have impacted many innocuous creators and resulted in model makers, independent journalists, and historical channels having their content demonetized or deleted.
The apology also appears to be a reversal of Wojcicki’s previous statements on her 2019 priorities where she suggested that trade-offs which impact innocent creators are necessary. However, since this apology contains no specifics, it remains to be seen whether Wojcicki’s update will result in meaningful changes to the new verification program.
Update – September 20, 2019: YouTube has rolled back some of the planned changes to its verification program and says that:
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- Channels that already have the verification badge will now keep it and don’t have to appeal.
- Just like in the past, all channels that have over 100,000 subscribers will now still be eligible to apply for verification. The application process will re-open by the end of October.
- The changes to the look of the verification badge will now be rolled out next year.