YouTube: Cracking down on Spammers’ tricks to Impersonate Creators

YouTube has been having a challenging time with spammers lately. Earlier this year, many prominent creators made videos highlighting the endless hordes of bad actors plaguing their channels who respond to other commenters with fake giveaways and scams.

YouTube has been reacting to these complaints and today revealed a few new changes to try and stem the tide.

It has been the latest attempt to tackle YouTube’s rampant spam problem. There are three new policies.

First, channels will no longer be capable of hiding their subscriber count — a move often used by spammers to help camouflage themselves. It is because checking a channel’s subscriber count is a quick way to verify that they are who they say they are.

Second, YouTube limits the type and frequency of special characters that can be used in channel names. It is another common spammer tactic, sometimes used in coordination with hidden subscriber counts. Spammers are attempting to make channels look legitimate by utilizing special characters to form familiar names and, for instance, calling your channel “¥ouⓉube” to mimic the official YouTube account. Reducing the frequency of special characters reduces the options they have to do so.

Third, YouTube is expanding access to an enhanced comment moderation setting it began testing earlier this year. The company now says all creators can toggle the “increase strictness” setting in the “held for review” tab in the platform’s moderation tools. YouTube says this will cut down on the number of spam/scam comments, though, with stricter filters, there’s always a risk of an increase in false positives, too.

It’s a small number of relatively minor changes, but it’s good that YouTube is still working to improve this issue.

YouTube doesn’t let spam, scams, or other deceptive practices take advantage of the YouTube community. We also don’t allow content where the primary purpose is to trick others into leaving YouTube for another site.

If you discover content that violates this policy, report it. Instructions for reporting breaches of the Community Guidelines are available here. In addition, you can write the channel if you’ve found a few videos or comments that you would like to register.

What do these policies suggest for you if you’re posting content

Don’t post content on YouTube if it serves the definitions noted below.

  • Video Spam: Content that is unduly posted, repetitive, or untargeted and accomplishes one or more of the following:
    • Assurances viewers they’ll see something but instead directs them off-site.
    • Earns clicks, views, or traffic off YouTube by pledging viewers that they’ll make money fast.
    • Sends audiences to places that spread harmful software and try to collect personal info or other sites that contain a negative impact.
    • Deceitful Metadata or Thumbnails: Using the title, thumbnails, and description to trick users into accepting the content is something it is not.
  • Scams: Content presents cash gifts, “get rich quick,” or pyramid schemes.
  • Incentivization Spam: Content that sells engagement metrics like views, likes, comments, or any other metric on YouTube. This type of spam can also contain content where the only goal is to boost subscribers, views, or other metrics—for instance, offering to subscribe to another creator’s channel exclusively in exchange for them subscribing to your channel, also understood as “Sub4Sub” content.
  • Comments Spam: Comments where the sole goal is to gather personal info from viewers, misleadingly drive viewers off YouTube, or complete any of the prohibited behaviors noted above.
  • Repetitive comments: Leaving large amounts of identical, untargeted, or redundant comments.
  • Live Stream Abuse: Live streams plan to stream content that belongs to somebody else and is not corrected after repeated warnings of potential abuse. Channel proprietors should monitor their live streams and promptly fix any potential issues.

This policy uses videos, comments, descriptions, live streams, and other YouTube products or features. Keep in the sense that this isn’t a complete inventory. These policies also lay to external links in your content. It can include clickable URLs, verbally directing users to other sites in the video, and other forms.

If your content violates this policy, it’ll remove the content and send you an email to let you know. If this is your first time breaking the Community Guidelines, you’ll likely get a warning with no penalty to your channel. If it’s not, it may issue a strike against your channel. Your track will be terminated if you get three strikes within 90 days.

It may terminate your channel or account for repeated violations of the Community Guidelines or Terms of Service. It may terminate your channel or account after a single case of extreme abuse or when the channel is devoted to a policy violation.

Checking the Subscriber Count

Your subscriber count contemplates how many viewers have subscribed to follow the YouTube channel. You can see the subscriber count in real-time and your growth over time in YouTube Analytics. In addition, you’ll get an email and notice a congratulatory animation within YouTube Studio when you reach a milestone.

How to Find your Subscriber Count

  • Log in to YouTube Studio.
  • In the left menu, choose Analytics.
  • On the Overview tab, get the Realtime card.
  • Tap See the live count and view your subscriber count over time.

Removing Closed accounts & Spammy subscribers

  • Closed accounts: Accounts are closed by the creator or terminated by YouTube due to a policy violation.
  • Spam subscribers: Subscribers gained through artificial means, such as purchasing subscribers through a third-party service.

YouTube regularly verifies the legitimacy of the accounts and actions on your YouTube channel. We also may make corrections to site metrics in YouTube Analytics to fix consistency issues across different sources. These processes ensure that our site metrics are free of spam, abuse, and closed accounts to keep YouTube fair for everyone.

Subscriber numbers must stay accurate to ensure you’re organically building your audience. Closed accounts and subscribers identified as spam won’t count toward your total number of subscribers. They also won’t show in your subscriber list and don’t impact views or watch time.