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YouTube Disables Hidden Subscriber Counts

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YouTube Disables Hidden Subscriber Counts

As part of a more significant effort to fight creator impersonation across the platform, YouTube has stopped allowing channels to hide the number of subscribers they have.

Hiding subscriber counts is one of the ways spammers succeed at impersonating other channels when leaving comments.

A low subscriber count is a dead giveaway that someone posing as another creator isn’t who they say they are.

Comment spam and identity-related abuse are top of mind for many people on YouTube today.

In response, several updates are rolling out to help protect viewers and creators from comment spam while making it harder to impersonate creators.

The updates include:

  • Disabling hidden subscriber counts
  • Strengthening auto-moderation capabilities
  • Limiting the use of special characters in channel names

Here’s more information about each of these updates.

Hidden Subscriber Counts

Historically, channels on YouTube have been able to hide the number of subscribers they have.

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Some creators find this feature valuable, such as those who are starting and don’t want to be judged by their subscriber count.

However, it’s often used to impersonate channels, YouTube says.

Bad actors often lure people to their channel page by impersonating other creators in comments.

Following an update rolling out at the end of July, channels will no longer be able to hide their subscriber counts on YouTube.

YouTube believes this decision will make the community safer, though it’s sure to upset creators who weren’t abusing the option to hide subscribers.

Stricter Comment Moderation

YouTube allows channels to automatically hold comments for moderation before they go live for all to see.

An update to YouTube’s auto-moderation gives creators the option to increase the strictness.

Making comment moderation more strict will increase detection settings for potentially inappropriate comments and spam.

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You can increase the strictness by signing into Creator Studio and selecting ‘Settings.’ Then select Community, then Defaults.

Check the box labeled ‘hold potentially inappropriate comments for review,’ then select ‘increase strictness.’

When this new setting is turned on, more spam and solicitations will automatically filter under the ‘held for review’ tab.

From there, channels can either delete the comment or post it publicly.

Limiting Special Characters

Using special characters in channel names is one way bad actors impersonate established channels.

To thwart impersonation attempts, YouTube is reducing the character set creators can choose from when updating their name moving forward.

Existing names with special characters can stay in place, however.


Source: Creator Insider
Featured Image: rafapress/Shutterstock

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Google’s Algorithms Can Understand When Sources Agree On Same Fact

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Google's Algorithms Can Understand When Sources Agree On Same Fact

Google’s Multitask Unified Model (MUM) algorithm is now capable of identifying when multiple high-quality sources agree on the same fact.

This update to MUM is part of a more significant effort to improve information literacy across the web.

A Google-supported survey conducted by the Poynter Institute finds that 62% of respondents encounter false or misleading information every week.

To help people separate fact from fiction, Google is applying several changes to search results.

Here are the complete details about the updates Google announced today.

Improvements To Google’s MUM Algorithm

With improvements to the MUM algorithm, Google can understand when multiple sources on the web come to a consensus.

What does this mean for search results?

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Google will now fact-check its featured snippets to see if other reputable sources agree with the information.

Pandu Nayak, Google’s Vice President of Search, explains how advancements to the MUM algorithm make this possible:

“Our systems can check snippet callouts (the word or words called out above the featured snippet in a larger font) against other high-quality sources on the web, to see if there’s a general consensus for that callout, even if sources use different words or concepts to describe the same thing. We’ve found that this consensus-based technique has meaningfully improved the quality and helpfulness of featured snippet callouts.”

Further, MUM can help Google more accurately determine when queries are better served without featured snippets.

As a result of this update, Google is reducing the triggering of featured snippets in these cases by 40%.

Helping Searchers Identify Trustworthy Information

Along with the update to MUM, Google is introducing additional features to help searchers find information they can trust.

Expanding ‘About This Result’

Google is expanding the ‘about this result’ feature with more context, such as:

  • How widely a source is circulated
  • Online reviews about the source or company
  • Whether another entity owns the company
  • When Google’s systems can’t find adequate information about a source
Image Credit: Screenshot from blog.google/products/search/information-literacy/, August 2022.

About this result is now available in the Google app and in more languages, including Portuguese (PT), French (FR), Italian (IT), German (DE), Dutch (NL), Spanish (ES), Japanese (JP), and Indonesian (ID).

Content Advisories About Information Gaps

A new advisory in search results will alert users when there’s not enough reliable information available for a particular query.

Google shares an example of a search related to a conspiracy theory triggering the new content advisory:

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Google’s Algorithms Can Understand When Sources Agree On Same FactImage Credit: Screenshot from blog.google/products/search/information-literacy/, August 2022.

Source: Google
Featured Image: Andrii Yalanskyi/Shutterstock

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