YouTube to audit videos for fraudulent ‘views’ in crackdown

5 Feb 2014

YouTube has announced it is to begin auditing newly released videos to tackle the problem of viewer number manipulation.

The Google-owned video website announced its plans on a blog post and believes the use of ‘bots’ to manipulate viewer numbers and likes to trick people into presuming it is good content is not what the site is about.

In the post written by YouTube’s software engineer, Philipp Pfeiffenberger says the site is looking to expand on its earlier, but much smaller-scale, auditing: “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.

“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, removing fraudulent views as new evidence comes to light. We don’t expect this approach to affect more than a minuscule fraction of videos on YouTube, but we believe it’s crucial to improving the accuracy of view counts and maintaining the trust of our fans and creators.”

Illegal financial gain

Aside from misrepresenting opinion to gain views for a video, the auditing can be considered a strong financial one from YouTube that has for a number of years agreed to a partnering agreement between itself, content providers and advertisers who will offer video makers financial rewards for high viewer numbers or likes.

The company has asked content producers to be wary of supposed marketing companies that approach them offering sums of money for advertising and, against the site’s rules, offer an increase in likes, as well.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic