YouTube is making a change to its impersonation policy in order to combat rising misrepresentation and impersonation in the app.
The updated rules will require fan channels to clearly state that they are not affiliated with the entity that they’re supporting.
As explained by YouTube:
“If you operate a fan channel, make sure you state so explicitly in your channel name or handle. It should be obvious to your viewers that your channel doesn’t represent the original creator, artist or entity your channel is celebrating.”
YouTube further explains the more specific focus of the change, which is to stop users from re-posting other people’s content, and presenting it as their own.
“For example, channels claiming to be a ‘fan account’, but actually posing as another’s channel and reuploading their content would not be allowed. Another example would be channels with the same name and avatar or banner as another channel, with the only difference being a space inserted into the name or a zero replacing the letter O, would not be allowed.”
The updated policy also notes that any violations may result in immediate termination of your account, as opposed to the previous wording, which outlined a three-strike system for related penalties.
YouTube’s seen a rise in channels re-uploading content from popular creators, and presenting themselves as the original poster, in order to build a monetizable audience in the app. That trend is present across most video platforms, with TikTok and Instagram also seeing popular TV show clips and trending content re-posted many times, as users try any way they can to maximize their audience reach.
This revised policy approach will give YouTube more leeway to ban this behavior outright, which could act as a bigger disincentive for those looking to use others’ work.
It’ll be interesting to see how, specifically, YouTube looks to action this, and what impact that could have on its content ecosystem.
YouTube says that the updated rules will take effect from August 21st, 2023.
You can read more about YouTube’s impersonation policy update here.