The CEO of YouTube has apologized for the “frustration and hurt” caused to creators, a day after the company notified many of them that their channels would lose their verification checkmarks in October.
YouTube announced this week that it was overhauling the qualifications for creators to get verified on its video platform. Almost immediately, some YouTubers with hundreds of thousands — and millions — of subscribers took to social media to post screenshots of emails from YouTube, which notified them that they no longer met the criteria for verification, and they were set to lose their checkmarks the following month.
The news was met with outrage from creators frustrated about YouTube’s actions. On Friday, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki wrote on Twitter that the platform had “missed the mark” with its new verification process. Wojcicki said that YouTube is “working to address your concerns.”
Later on Friday, Wojcicki issued an update on Twitter that all verified users would be able to keep their checkmarks, “without appeal.” She also shared revised authentication criteria— essentially, that a verified channel must have over 100,000 subscribers, and that the channel is “authentic” and “complete.” In other words, a verified YouTube channel must be claimed by a real person, brand, or entity, and be active in sharing public videos.
YouTube has said that the goal of tightening its verification criteria is to “reduce confusion about what being verified means.” Under its new policies rolling out in late October, YouTube will prioritize “prominent channels that have a clear need for proof of authenticity” above all else, specifically those belonging to “highly searched” figures and those that have a “strong presence online” outside of YouTube.
The tightening of verification criteria is just the latest in a series of YouTube policies and stances that have been unpopular among the platform’s content creators. YouTube has struggled to deal with incidents of “creator-on-creator” harassment on the platform, and its inaction has been criticized heavily. YouTube has defended its decisions, and said it strives to maintain a platform that is open, even if it means offending some.
In August, a group of LGBTQ creators sued YouTube, alleging the video platform discriminated against them by unfairly applying its policies in a way that restricts queer content from making money and being seen by a wide audience.