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YouTube Reverses Verification Policy Following Backlash

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In a surprising decision, YouTube is backtracking on its newly implemented channel verification plan. In the process of implementing the new system, verification was stripped from a significant amount of YouTube channels that the platform no longer viewed as needing verification. Due to frustrations from these channels and their supporters, YouTube's made the decision to revert its actions. Channels that had been stripped of verification will get it back and keep it going forward.

YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki has over the past 24 hours transparently discussed the issue through a series of Twitter posts. The first post from Wojcicki starts by apologizing to channel owners who had been unverified. "I'm sorry for the frustration and hurt that we caused with our new approach to verification," Wojcicki states bluntly. Wojcicki goes on to say that YouTube "missed the mark" with its new system, but that it's working on changes that will address concerns.

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In a huge update released just hours after Wojcicki's apology, she confirmed that channels will be able to keep their verification without appeal. The update makes clear that YouTube now understands how important being verified mattered to channel. YouTube is also making a second change to the new system. While channels which cross 100,000 subscribers won't get automatic verification like prior, they will be able to apply for verification. This is a change to the new verification system, which put verification entirely in the hands of YouTube.

Alongside the changes, YouTube is still moving forward with its new verification system. It clarifies that its goal is still to "protect creators from impersonation and address user confusion." However, it further elaborates that it wants to avoid the idea that verified channels are officially endorsed by YouTube. As such, the verification symbol (a checkmark for YouTube creators, a music note for YouTube artists) will be turning into a different type of highlight. This and the new verification expectations after a channel hits 100,000 subscribers will make up the latest verification plans for Youtube.

While YouTube's decision is certainly the correct one for channels that had been unverified, its decisions do come across like half-measures. YouTube's assertion that automatically granting channels with 100,000 subscriptions isn't an adequate way to ensure authenticity is true. And having a unique verification system for new YouTube channels isn't fair when earlier channels had virtually no requirements. If YouTube's plan was to make verification mean something go forward, this decision seems to sabotage that effort. But it does avert a controversy, which seems to be YouTube's priority with most decisions.

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