Written by Matt G. Southern –
As part of a more significant effort to fight creator impersonation across the platform, YouTube has stopped allowing channels to hide the number of subscribers they have.
Hiding subscriber counts is one of the ways spammers succeed at impersonating other channels when leaving comments.
A low subscriber count is a dead giveaway that someone posing as another creator isn’t who they say they are.
Comment spam and identity-related abuse are top of mind for many people on YouTube today.
In response, several updates are rolling out to help protect viewers and creators from comment spam while making it harder to impersonate creators.
The updates include:
- Disabling hidden subscriber counts
- Strengthening auto-moderation capabilities
- Limiting the use of special characters in channel names
Here’s more information about each of these updates.
Hidden Subscriber Counts
Historically, channels on YouTube have been able to hide the number of subscribers they have.
Some creators find this feature valuable, such as those who are starting and don’t want to be judged by their subscriber count.
However, it’s often used to impersonate channels, YouTube says.
Bad actors often lure people to their channel page by impersonating other creators in comments.
Following an update rolling out at the end of July, channels will no longer be able to hide their subscriber counts on YouTube.
YouTube believes this decision will make the community safer, though it’s sure to upset creators who weren’t abusing the option to hide subscribers.
Stricter Comment Moderation
YouTube allows channels to automatically hold comments for moderation before they go live for all to see.
An update to YouTube’s auto-moderation gives creators the option to increase the strictness.
Making comment moderation more strict will increase detection settings for potentially inappropriate comments and spam.
You can increase the strictness by signing into Creator Studio and selecting ‘Settings.’ Then select Community, then Defaults.
Check the box labeled ‘hold potentially inappropriate comments for review,’ then select ‘increase strictness.’
When this new setting is turned on, more spam and solicitations will automatically filter under the ‘held for review’ tab.
From there, channels can either delete the comment or post it publicly.
Limiting Special Characters
Using special characters in channel names is one way bad actors impersonate established channels.
To thwart impersonation attempts, YouTube is reducing the character set creators can choose from when updating their name moving forward.
Existing names with special characters can stay in place, however.
Source: Creator Insider
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