ACG, one of YouTube’s most recognizable independent game reviews, revealed late yesterday that YouTube is removing his verified status amid sweeping changes to the platform’s channel verification system.
With over 600,000 subscribers, ACG is known for impartial reviews of a wide variety of games free of ‘sponsored bull crap’ as he frequently explains in his videos. By marrying level-headed criticism to a firm understanding of game design, he offers his viewers an authoritative take on what to make of the latest titles.
This unbiased approach has secured ACG a reputation as one of the most respected independent reviewers in the gaming sphere. In other words, a recognizable face very much worthy of YouTube’s verified check mark with the following to match.
As ACG points out, losing verification has a profound impact on channels, particularly those covering gaming;
One of the major things it actually does mean is a restriction on getting codes quickly. If you are a channel with verification, it is much easier to get a code. Especially codes for games where they’re trying to make sure there isn’t impersonation.
ACG isn’t alone in bearing the brunt of YouTube’s latest policy change. Larger channels with millions of subscribers are suffering a similar fate such as Luminosity Gaming’s Kiwiz with 2.34 million subs and OfficialNerdCubed with 2.5 million subs.
Changes to YouTube Verification Eligibility Criteria
It should be easy to know when you’ve found the official YouTube channel of a creator, artist, brand, or public figure.
So in late October, we’re updating what it means for channels to be “Verified” w/ new eligibility criteria & a new look.
— TeamYouTube (@TeamYouTube) September 19, 2019
From Oct. to be eligible for verification a channel must belong to a ‘real creator, artist, public figure or company’ and be ‘widely recognized outside of YouTube and have a strong presence online.’
YouTube explains in a community update that;
Through our research, we found that people often associated the check mark 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.
The previous requirements worked well when YouTube was smaller, but as YouTube has grown and become more complex, we need a new way to verify the identity of channels and help you find the official channel you’re looking for.
The notion that YouTube’s changes are born of a desire to associate the verified check with identity rather than content has irked many onlookers who decry the illogical nature of such a move. Indeed, as a personality-driven platform, content and identity are in countless cases interchangeable.
The criteria appear to favor brands and celebrities (in the traditional sense of the word) rather than grassroots creators who’ve built up a following from scratch through sheer graft on YouTube alone.
As this Twitter user astutely points out, there is also an inherent dissonance to removing the verified status from an already verified channel.
When prompted for additional clarification for the policy change, YouTube responded;
Surely, moving verification from recognized channels with large followings runs contrary to facilitating access to these very channels.
Once again, YouTube appears to be ignoring the very creators that ensure the on-going success of the platform in favor of a strategy reminiscent of traditional television networks.