YouTube is changing the way it verifies users, as well as the way it displays that verification. Previously, the firm made use of checkmarks like Twitter and Instagram, now it is getting rid of those checkmarks for a grey highlight on the channel name. This is to erase any confusion about what verification means; an endorsement of identity, not of content.

That’s not all, YouTube is also changing how it determines what accounts are eligible for verification or not. Users will no longer be able to apply for verification, instead, YouTube will be proactively seeking out and verifying accounts on its own.

The firm has added the following criteria:

  • Authenticity: Does this channel belong to the real creator, artist, public figure or company it claims to represent?
  • Prominence: Does this channel represent a well-known or highly searched creator, artist, public figure or company? Is this channel widely recognized outside of YouTube and have a strong presence online? Is this a popular channel that has a very similar name to many other channels?

This is a good idea in theory, but YouTube’s implementation of this has been less than stellar. High profile accounts have received notice that their verification will be removed due to failing to meet YouTube’s new criteria.

The social media platform has been running damage control on its new policies, explaining that no one has actually lost a verification badge yet — despite the content of the emails. The firm then goes on to say that they can appeal — meaning that they have lost a verification badge or will likely lose one in the future. It’s not very clear, all very messy, and YouTube’s creators aren’t amused.

Verification on YouTube, unlike Twitter, didn’t grant any special privileges. It simply signalled authenticity and allowed users to know the channels they were interacting with were the real deal. Maybe some YouTubers won’t mind their verification being stripped away, but for content creators relying on it for a revenue stream, there’s likely to be a monetary hit down the line.