Online communities are a place for members to connect and interact with your association. And like social media and other gathering places, digital or otherwise, they often come with certain participant expectations. When those expectations aren’t met—or changed without member input—organizations are bound to face a lot of backlash.
Take it from YouTube. The video platform announced a new approach to its verification process, which was met with an onslaught of public dissatisfaction. Instead of having any channel with more than 100,000 subscribers apply for verification status, the idea was that YouTube would verify well-known creators, public figures, and famous brands on its own.
“The stated goal of the changes was to make it clear that verification isn’t an endorsement from YouTube, but simply a statement that the creator really is who they claim to be,” said Anthony Ha on TechCrunch. “This distinction became increasingly important as YouTube faced criticism for allowing the spread of hate speech and misinformation, with executives then defending the service as an open platform.”
The process stripped numerous creators’ verification, including some with millions of subscribers. You can imagine the backlash.
Less than 24 hours later, CEO Susan Wojcicki tweeted about the reaction and assured creators a more satisfactory update was in the works.
“To our creators and users—I’m sorry for the frustration and hurt that we caused with our new approach to verification,” Wojcicki said. “While trying to make improvements, we missed the mark. As I write this, we’re working to address your concerns and we’ll have more updates soon.”
Since then, YouTube has amended the verification process so that verified channels can keep their status, and channels with more than 100,000 subscribers will still be able to apply for verification. In other words, the platform reinstated those well-established community guidelines that caused backlash in the first place.
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