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YouTube Cracks Down on Fake Channels by Setting 10,000-View Minimum Before Serving Ads

Move comes in the wake of controversy over ads served in extremist video content

YouTube is taking an additional step to thwart impersonators looking to steal traffic from other creators: The internet-video service said it will no longer serve advertising on channels through the YouTube Partner Program until they’ve reached 10,000 overall views.

YouTube has been seeing more cases in which someone re-uploads original content — pirated from another YouTube channel — to try to earn ad revenue from it, according to VP of product management Ariel Bardin. As of April 6, YouTube will no longer serve ads on YouTube Partner Program videos until the channel reaches 10,000 lifetime views, which is a threshold that “gives us enough information to determine the validity of a channel,” Bardin wrote in a blog announcing the change.

Meanwhile, the move also comes as YouTube deals with the fallout from the controversy that erupted last month after advertisers discovered that their spots were running against objectionable videos including those from white supremacists, radical Islamic preachers and other hatemongers. That has led dozens of major brands to suspend ad spending on YouTube for the time being.

Within a few weeks, YouTube plans to implement a review process for new creators who apply to be in the YouTube Partner Program. After a creator hits 10,000 lifetime views on their channel, “we’ll review their activity against our policies,” Bardin wrote. “If everything looks good, we’ll bring this channel into [the YouTube Partner Program] and begin serving ads against their content.”

“Together these new thresholds will help ensure revenue only flows to creators who are playing by the rules,” Bardin added. The Google-owned site first introduced the YouTube Partner Program for ad-revenue sharing back in 2007.

YouTube recently made it easier to report someone an impersonating a channel or an individual. According to Bardin, that has helped it terminate hundreds of thousands of channels violating its policies. YouTube defines channel impersonation as a case in which a user copies a channel’s profile, background or text, and writes comments to make it look like somebody else’s channel posted the comments.

“We want creators of all sizes to find opportunity on YouTube, and we believe this new application process will help ensure creator revenue continues to grow and end up in the right hands,” Bardin wrote.

Any ad revenue earned by channels with less than 10,000 views up until Thursday will not be affected, he added.

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