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Youtube Deletes Billions of ‘Fake’ Video Views

By// Kendra Cusic

YouTube has deleted billions of “fake and “dead” music video views. According to The Daily Mail, the video streaming site has cracked down on allegedly faked views on music videos, stripping Universal of one billion views on its artists videos and Sony of 850 million.

“This was not a bug or a security breach. This was an enforcement of our view count policy,” said YouTube officials after dealing with the alleged inflation of viewing figures for music videos on their site.

The site was forced to take action after conducting an audit of its viewing figures and suspected tampering from hackers, who were evidently artificially increasing views on certain videos in order to make videos appear more popular than they are and increase their own exposure on the site (so their videos would have better chances of popping up in the “related videos” sidebar). Universal, home of Rihanna, Nicki Minaj and Justin Bieber, lost a total of one billion views in the video site’s crackdown. Other artists whose channels were affected include Beyonce, Chris Brown, Leona Lewis and Michael Jackson.

Record labels denied involvement with hackers and instead blamed the cuts in their viewing figures on a change in the way that YouTube has changed its view count, according to The Daily Mail.

Billboard reported that the Google-owned company recently decided to remove view counts for so-called “dead videos,” which were no longer live on the channel. A senior label executive told the magazine that because thousands of videos had been migrated to Vevo, the views those clips accrued during their time on their dedicated label channels were taken away in YouTube’s sweep. 

Universal acknowledged its drop in views, but said its channel had been mostly dormant since it shifted its focus to Vevo, which it founded in 2009 with Sony Music, Abu Dhabi Media Company, and E1 Entertainment.