YouTube's new channel verification system is already causing controversy. The new system, which YouTube has only just begun, has already resulted in many previously verified YouTube channels losing their status. Channel verification can play an important role in YouTube's recommendations and search results, but having channels unverified could lead to some losing their revenue stream. YouTube, however, firmly believes its new verification system is necessary moving forward.
Previously, YouTube's verification system was simple, but altogether unhelpful. Any channel with more than 100,000 subscribers had the opportunity to get verified. The new YouTube verification system is moderated, with more ambiguous expectations. According to YouTube, channels are "typically" verified if they: have a large audience and community on YouTube, are widely recognized outside of YouTube, or have a channel name easily confused with another on YouTube.
While YouTube is stating that the new verification system is being redesigned to fill a need, a way to denote authenticity for names and brands like PewDiePie and PlayStation, some in the community see otherwise. As YouTube begins stripping channels of their verification, some see YouTube's actions as a method of removing a perceived endorsement from less marketable or tasteful channels. Ambiguous rules for verification will, in practice, mean that channels that deserve verification will be passed over in favor of channels YouTube sees as better suited for its brand.
However, the controversy takes a turn when considering voices beyond the vocal minority who might be affected by YouTube's verification change. Namely, that a broad audience is currently unhappy with YouTube's moderation and search results. If this is one way in which YouTube can prevent controversial content from showing up in otherwise generic search results, then to many people it's a good change. Whether the change actually does help is another matter entirely.
What happens next is wholly up to YouTube. Channels no longer apply for channel verification, as YouTube will assign it as it sees fit. Whether the new verification system results in any meaningful changes to the platform is another issue that will take time to analyze. In the meantime, there may be quite a few YouTube channels suffering as a result of the change, so hopefully they each land on their feet.