YouTube Removes 2 Billion Fake Views from Major Record Labels

YouTube is cracking down on the practice of buying fake views

By on December 28th, 2012 15:11 GMT

It's hardly surprising that music videos are very popular on YouTube. It's a given fact, made even more obvious by Gangnam Style, which went on to become the most popular video on YouTube in four months and the first video to get one billion views, in five.

Still, you've probably always wondered, who watches all of these videos, did people really watch Gangnam Style over and over again, one billion times.

Well, it seems that at least in some cases, or in many cases for the large record labels, no one watches them.

In fact, very recently, YouTube audited the view count of many of the videos it hosted, the most popular ones in particular, and music labels took a big hit.

Universal alone lost one billion views, from a total of seven billion. In total, the major labels lost two billion views. The only way to "lose" views is if they're fake and this is exactly what YouTube discovered.

It wasn't much of a secret that there were some fake views on YouTube, but no one imagined it was such a widespread problem.

The music labels, which first went after YouTube as a pirate heaven, now pay dubious characters to inflate the view numbers of videos that may otherwise prove less than popular.

Larger view counts means YouTube is more likely to recommend or feature a video, which means it's more likely to be seen by actual users. Since YouTube runs ads alongside these videos, it means the music labels end up making quite a pretty sum.

YouTube won't comment on the matter, but there have been confirmations that it did a sweeping audit of view counts, removing fake ones or even deleting entire videos for the practice of buying fake views. The move affected plenty of smaller YouTube users as well.

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