YouTube is changing how subscriber counts are displayed, possibly shifting its culture

YouTube is introducing a major change to the way real-time subscriber counts are displayed, which could prevent analytics sites like Social Blade from actively displaying whether creators are gaining — or, more importantly, losing — subscribers.

Instead of seeing a YouTuber’s exact subscriber count (for example, 10,500,000), people will see a flat 10 million. This may not seem like a major change for people who aren’t invested in the messy lives of YouTube creators, but for a culture reliant on active subscriber counts as a way of proving who’s winning or losing when drama occurs, real-time subscriber counts are crucial.

A blog post from YouTube’s product teamacknowledges that “subscriber counts are extremely important for creators,” adding that the change is being instituted to “create more consistency everywhere.” Some channels already have this display function, but YouTube’s product team wants to make it more uniform.

A YouTube spokesperson confirmed to The Verge that sites that are dependent on YouTube’s API Services “will update at the same increments as the other surfaces.” That includes sites like Social Blade, which announced on Twitter that YouTube’s changes “might affect our data display.” Jason Urgo, CEO of Social Blade, told The Verge over email the company has “reached out to YouTube and are awaiting a response,” adding that “it appears like it will hit any third party which would include us as well.”


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