YouTube Announced That It Will Be Unverifying Some Creators

It was chaos on Thursday as YouTube tried to announce an update that would remove the verified checkmark from some users.

YouTube attempted to update its user verification program on Thursday. The result, however, wasn't a clear change to how the video platform manages the identities of its users and brands.

Instead, it became complete chaos as creators tweeted, blasting YouTube for stripping them of their checkmarks.

BuzzFeed News reached out to YouTube for comment and was directed to their blog post about the changes.

According to the blog post on Thursday, YouTube planned to reduce confusion about what being verified meant. They introduced a new look that was supposed to help distinguish the official channel of a creator, celebrity, or brand. Instead of a checkmark, it'll be a gray box instead.

Before the change this week, YouTube’s system allowed anyone with more than 100,000 subscribers to be verified. Now, YouTube will verify channels with a “clear need for proof of authenticity."

Verification has been an important issue for creators. After the changes this week, creators will no longer apply for verification, it'll just be doled out by the platform.

The confusion on Thursday about what the changes would actually mean seemed to stem from emails that creators began receiving about their verification status.

Wow. The only “disappointing” thing in my life is YOUtube. 🙄

I think @YouTube hit the wrong button again. I meet every one of their requirements for verification. Don't worry, I appealed it & provided 20+ links to sites worldwide including @businessinsider that featured & I literally own my trademark. #YouTube This better be a mistake...

Creators losing their checkmarks received an email that read, "We're writing to let you know that we're updating the eligibility criteria for channel verification on YouTube. Unfortunately, with these changes, your channel no longer meets the criteria to be verified."

This obviously caused a commotion, leaving mid-tier influencers panicking that their channels would be in danger.

YouTube then had to issue another statement, explaining that no one lost a verification badge on Thursday. They said if a creator received an email saying they would be losing the badge, it was an advance notice and they could appeal the decision.

Additional clarification: ✔️No one lost a verification badge today–If you received an email that your channel will no longer be verified, this was just an advanced notice & you can appeal ✔️The checkmark has never appeared on YouTube mobile channel pages (this will be added soon)

The late clarification about what was actually happening did little to quell the anger from YouTubers on social media.

"I’m really sorry to the creators who are being unverified on @YouTube today. This decision is really pointless and it’s yet another change not a single person asked for," makeup artist and influencer James Charles tweeted. "PLEASE know that you are still valid as a creator and I hope that a stupid checkmark doesn’t discourage you! If a user gets unverified as a result of these new changes, YouTube said they can appeal."

Another part of the update announced Thursday was that musicians on YouTube will be receiving a small music note next to their display names.

YouTubers are historically extremely sensitive to changes made by the platform. Due to the obliqueness of how the site's recommendation algorithms work, many creators live in constant fear of losing placement around the site.

"I don’t care about the validation of a check mark, but I’ve been able to make a lot of friendships with other creators because we get notifications when another verified channel comments on our videos," YouTuber Sierra Schultzzie wrote Thursday. "Even if they do restore my badge (I submitted an appeal), it sucks because lots of other medium sized channels won’t get it back."

Over the weekend, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki addressed the controversy surrounding the policy change. In a series of tweets, Wojcicki said that creators will no longer have to appeal to keep their verification.

UPDATE 1: We heard loud & clear how much the badge means to you. Channels that currently have verification will now keep it without appeal. We’ll continue reviewing those channels to ensure we’re protecting creators from impersonation. More on our changes:

UPDATE 2: Like in the past, channels that reach 100k subs will be eligible to apply for verification. To better clarify how channels will qualify, we’ve updated the eligibility criteria here: The new look for the badge will not roll out until next year.


This post has been updated with an additional statement from YouTube's CEO Susan Wojcicki.

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