As early as now, YouTube is giving creators a heads up about their subscriber count potentially dropping in the wake of a massive spam account purge.
The company is currently hard at work disinfecting the site by removing bad agents, and spam accounts make up a huge portion of that group. As such, it's warning creators not to be surprised if they see their subscriber tally dip down a bit — those are most likely spam users and YouTube won't think twice about swatting them away from the platform entirely.
YouTube Spam Account Purge
YouTube explains in a post on the site's official product forum that these sweeps are part of a routine maintenance the company does. By removing spam accounts, YouTube keeps its service "a fair playing field" for creators, since fake accounts can artificially increase a particular user's total subscriber pool.
It's impossible to predict which channels are going to be affected by this purge, but YouTube wants creators to prepare for it.
"We regularly verify the legitimacy of accounts and actions on your YouTube channel. As part of these regular checks, we identified and will remove a number of subscribers that were in fact spam from our systems."
YouTube also tried to make light of the situation on Twitter, joking that the purge is a way for creators to know they have true fans.
"This should help give you confidence that the subs you do have are real fans!"
YouTube confirmed recently that it deleted 1.67 million channels during the third quarter of 2018. Of those, 80 percent were for spam violations. All in all, they represent as many as 50 million videos, which were of course removed alongside the channels.
In addition, YouTube deleted 7.85 million videos violating its guidelines on spam and adult content, and also "low-volume areas" such as violent extremism and child exploitation. The company also expunged 224 million comments for violating community guidelines, most of which were spam.
Not only that, YouTube says it's also getting faster at removing content that's in violation of its policies. In fact, it claims more than 90 percent of the videos removed this past September by automated systems and staff for violations of violent extremism or child safety rules had fewer than 10 views. Some still manage to slip through the cracks, though, and they often go on to reap high viewership before YouTube eventually takes action.