YouTube has apologised and walked back on some of the changes it made to the eligibility of its verification after copping flak from users. The changes include tightening the criteria for the badge and requiring existing users with the badge to appeal.
According to a press release, the changes were aimed at protecting creators from impersonation and addressing user confusion. The streaming platform said it receives tens of thousands of complaints about impersonation and nearly a third of its users misunderstood the badge’s meaning.
However, existing users with the verification badge are upset as the down time during the appeal process can mean a huge hit to their reputation and prominence. Additionally, users require "clear proof of authenticity" before they can apply, which makes the process harder for users.
In a blog post, YouTube product manager Jonathan McPhie said the company has heard "loud and clear" how much the badge means to users. He added: "While rolling out improvements to this program, we completely missed the mark. We’re sorry for the frustration that this caused." As part of the update after hearing the feedback from users,
YouTube is now allowing channels that already have the verification badge to keep it without appealing.
Also, all channels that have over 100,000 subscribers will still be eligible to apply. The application process will reopen by the end of October.
Moving forward, YouTube will review those channels to verify their identity. To earn the badge, users have to fulfil two criteria - authentic and complete. YouTube will look at "a variety of factors" to help verify the channel's identity, and may also ask for additional info or documentation. The channel must also be public and have a description, channel icon, and content, and be active on YouTube.
The new criteria "prioritises" verifying prominent channels that have a clear need for proof of authenticity and will apply for all channels, said YouTube. Channels that meet the new requirements no longer need to apply. The platform will automatically apply the new verified treatment.
Additionally, YouTube has announced a new look for the verification badge that will be displayed consistently across screens. Currently, verified channels have a checkmark next to their channel name. The new badge will roll out next year.
"Through our research, we found that viewers often associated the checkmark with an endorsement of content, not identity. To reduce confusion about what being verified means, we’re introducing a new look that helps distinguish the official channel of the creator, celebrity or brand it represents," said McPhie.
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