Youtube Strips Video Views From Stars, Reveals Viewings Were Faked

If you’re a big pop star, it’s expected that your Youtube videos would have more views than the average subscriber. But now it looks like your favorite singer’s Youtube music videos, which have hundreds of thousands to millions of views, may have actually been faked.

In an audit to enforce its viewcount policy, Youtube recently stripped more than two billion “faked” views, most on the channels of artists under Universal Records, such as Nicki Minaj, Rihanna, and Justin Bieber. Universal alone lost over one billion views, which equals one seventh of its total views.

The crackdown focused on black hat view count-building techniques that help viewcounts increase artificially. Users were legally confirmed to have violated rule TOS item 4, Section H using information from the stat-site SocialBlade. But not all views may have come from enforcing the viewcount policy due to sneaky practices. Reports are saying the stripping of views may have come from the extraction of “dead” videos and those that automatically pop up.

Addressing the decline in their channel views, Universal acknowledged their channel has been largely inactive due to their focus on Vevo, a collaboration between Universal and Sony in partnership with Youtube to display music videos.