Last week, YouTube announced it was changing its verification criteria for channel owners, no longer extending verification based solely on a channel having 100,000 or more subscribers. The change caused an uproar among creators who subsequently lost their verified badge. The following day, YouTube reversed its decision and returned verified badges to creators who had the icon before the latest program updates. The company acknowledged it had “completely missed the mark” when rolling out the new eligibility requirements for verification.
The backstory on YouTube’s verification eligibility updates. On September 19, YouTube announced it was changing the requirements for its verification process. The platform said instead of verifying channels based solely on if the channel had 100,000 or more subscribers, it would focus verification criteria on two principles: authenticity and prominence.
YouTube said the goal was to remove any confusion about what a verification checkmark means and eliminate impersonators: “Every year, we receive tens of thousands of complaints from creators about impersonation. Also, nearly a third of YouTube users told us that they misunderstood the badge’s meaning, associating it with *endorsement of content*, and not an indicator of *identity*.”
The immediate impact on creators. In the original announcement, YouTube said channels that meet the new requirements would not need to apply for verification, and any channels that received the notification they had lost their verification badge as part of the update could submit an appeal to get it back.
The changes did not go without notice among creators who lost their verification badge. The backlash was significant enough that YouTube reversed its decision to take away any verification badges from channels who already had it.
“Channels that already have a verification badge will now keep it and don’t have to appeal,” wrote YouTube in an update posted the day after the original announcement.
New verification rules going forward. From here on out, YouTube said all channels with 100,000 or more subscribers will be able to apply for verification, and that it will continue reviewing channels to ensure they are authentic. YouTube has updated its process for reviewing channels, saying that it will verify channels that meet its “Authentic” requirements and are “Complete” (meaning the channel must be public; have a description, channel icon and content; and be active on YouTube).
If a channel is found not to be inauthentic — or attempting to impersonate someone or a brand — YouTube will not verify the channel and may take action against it.
No new badges for now. YouTube had also announced a new “look” for badges, rolling out an updated verification icon that would be displayed consistently across its platform. The company is postponing the rollout of new badge do to the changes it made since the initial announcement.
Why we should care. Brands and creators who may have lost the verification badge for their YouTube channel should have it back in place, and no longer need to worry about submitting an appeal. It’s also worth noting that when enough of the YouTube community speaks up when platform changes impact their business, YouTube may respond, and quickly. The original updates to the verification program were announced on Thursday — YouTube had reversed its decision and posted an update by 3:00 pm the following day.