YouTube is clamping down on “fraudulent views” on the site’s videos.
In a blog post, software engineer Philipp Pfeiffenberger wrote: “As part of our long-standing effort to keep YouTube authentic and full of meaningful interactions, we’ve begun periodically auditing the views a video has received”.
Consequently the site “will periodically validate the video’s view count” and remove fake views as “new evidence comes to light”.
The post warns video creators to “be extra careful when working with third-party marketing firms”, as “unfortunately some of them will sell you fake views”.
Third-party businesses can create YouTube views through automated means, such as creating deceptive layouts on third party websites that trick viewers into playing a video when they click on unrelated elements of a page.
Video creators can also pay these businesses as little as $10 to receive 10,000 views. On one website 1 million views on a YouTube video, for example, sets a user back less than $600.
But, as YouTube advised users last November, these fraudulent views “will not be counted on YouTube” and can “lead to disciplinary action against your account” – including your account being removed.
As they explain in the blog post this week, it is the user that will be punished for creating fraudulent views, not just the third party business.
More than 1 billion unique users visit YouTube each month, official statistics demonstrate. With so many visitors, YouTube have a tough challenge ahead to determinate which visitors are real.