YouTube purging spam accounts this week, creators may see drop in subscriber count

By Digit NewsDesk | Updated 14 Dec 2018
YouTube purging spam accounts this week, creators may see drop in subscriber count
  • YouTube has just announced that they discovered a bug which allowed some spam accounts to not get purged, something the company plans to fix over the next few days

YouTube has just made an announcement that could potentially upset creators on the video platform. The company has said that over the course of the next few days, they will be purging YouTube of spam subscribers. In a post on the company blog, it has ben noted that creators could see a small drop in their follower count and YouTube will send out notices to all account impacted.

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The purge will occur on the 13th and 14th of December and is something YouTube does periodically. YouTube keeps purging fake follower accounts from the platform so as to keep the playing field fair to all creators. A post on YouTube’s product forum explained that the company identified and fixed “an issue that caused some spam not to be removed.”

While big-name creators wouldn’t take a major hit due to this, it is the small-time creators who are mostly at risk. YouTube has a threshold of 1000 subscribers for creators to be a part of the Partner Program, something you have to be a part of to make money off your YouTube videos. Now any account whose follower count falls below the 1000 subscriber mark will automatically be removed from the Partner Program, and will need to re-apply once they have gained the requisite followers.

You can read YouTube’s complete note below.


Heads up that on December 13-14, 2018 you may see a noticeable decrease in your subscriber count as we remove spam subscriptions from your channel. We regularly verify the legitimacy of accounts and actions on your YouTube channel. We’ve recently identified and fixed an issue that caused some spam not to be removed. Today/tomorrow, we’ll be taking action and removing subscribers that were in fact spam from our systems. Removing spam from the platform helps ensure that YouTube remains a fair playing field for everyone and should result in higher confidence that you’re organically building a community of authentic fans.

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We know you may have some questions about this so we’re sharing additional information below. Read on for answers to some common questions!

  • How do I know if I had spam subscriptions? If we removed spam subscribers from your channel’s subscriber count, you’ll see a banner in YouTube Studio or Classic Creator Studio (this is rolling out over the next few days).
  • How do you know these are spam and not people wanting to subscribe to my channel? We use a mix of industry leading techniques and proprietary technology to identify spam on the platform. Often, these types of actions are meant to make channels look more popular than they actually are.
  • Why does my channel have spam subscribers? In an attempt to hide their behavior, spam services tend to subscribe to a variety of channels, instead of just subscribing to the channel that purchased the spam.
  • How will this affect watch time on my channel? Since these are artificial actions, we do not expect removing these will impact watch time.
  • What if I have fallen below the YouTube Partner Program (YPP) threshold of 1,000 subscriptions as a result of the removal? Channels that had a high percentage of spam and fall below 1,000 subscribers will no longer meet the minimum requirement for YPP and will be removed from the program.  They are encouraged to reapply once they’ve rebuilt their subscribers organically. You can learn about how to apply for YPP here.
  • What does YouTube do about spam? We’ve spent years building out our advanced technology to identify spam on the platform — it uses advanced statistics, machine learning, label propagation, anomaly detection and manual review.
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Digit NewsDesk
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