YouTube has begun to audit the number of views a video has received, in a bid to tackle the growing trend for fake views inflating the popularity of videos.
Last year, Channel 4 ran a documentary ‘Celebs, Brands and Fake Fans’ , which examined the growing trend for fake views, and looked at the origin of click farms in areas such as Bangladesh.
Watch this trailer for the documentary here:
YouTube said it will now “periodically” validate the views on videos and remove the fraudulent ones from the total.
Previously, the site would scan views for spam immediately after they occurred, but now it will occasionally validate the video’s view count, removing fraudulent views “as new evidence comes to light.”
The Google-owned company says it takes the accuracy of interactions like views, likes, or comments very seriously because artificially inflating counts doesn’t just mislead fans about the popularity of a video, but it undermines “one of YouTube’s most important and unique qualities.”
It also warns to be careful when working with third-party marketing firms, since some will try to sell viewers fake views.
“Some bad actors try to game the system by artificially inflating view counts. They’re not just misleading fans about the popularity of a video, they’re undermining one of YouTube’s most important and unique qualities,” Google, which owns YouTube, said in a blog post.
“While in the past we would scan views for spam immediately after they occurred, starting today we will periodically validate the video’s view count.”
However, the firm said that it does not expect the new approach to affect “more than a minuscule fraction of videos on YouTube”.
For its part, YouTube has previously warned users against generating views through automated means or by forcing or tricking viewers into watching videos.
According to YouTube these methods could include:
• Purchasing views from third-party websites
• Deceptive layouts on third party websites that trick viewers into playing a video when they click unrelated elements on the page
• Serving pop-unders: a new window that appears under a current window
• Redirects: when the URL changes and sends the viewer to a new page in the middle of a click
“A view should be a metric that reflects genuine interest, not a gauge of how many people mistakenly or unknowingly ended up watching your video,” the website has said.
Read the YouTube blog post here