YouTube is warning users that they may see a noticeable decrease in subscriber count as the company purges spam accounts.
This will occur from December 13-14, according to an announcement in the YouTube help forum:
“We regularly verify the legitimacy of accounts and actions on your YouTube channel. We’ve recently identified and fixed an issue that caused some spam not to be removed. Today/tomorrow, we’ll be taking action and removing subscribers that were in fact spam from our systems.”
A YouTube representative goes on to explain that its efforts to remove spam should assure users that they’re organically building an authentic community.
“We use a mix of industry leading techniques and proprietary technology to identify spam on the platform. Often, these types of actions are meant to make channels look more popular than they actually are.”
Even if a channel did not intentionally acquire spam subscribers, they may have acquired some as a result of the actions of other channels.
“In an attempt to hide their behavior, spam services tend to subscribe to a variety of channels, instead of just subscribing to the channel that purchased the spam.”
Metrics such as watch time should not be impacted since spam subscribers do not actively engage with content.
Channels that end up having spam subscribers removed will see a notification banner in YouTube Studio or Classic Creator Studio.
If a channel ends up falling below the YouTube Partner Program (YPP) threshold of 1,000 subscriptions as a result of the purge then they will be removed from the program.