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YouTube Apologizes and Reverses Policy That Would Have Unverified Several Creators

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  • YouTube reversed an upcoming change to its verification system that would have removed the verification checkmarks from many creators, including some with more than a million subscribers.
  • YouTube said, starting by the end of October, it will update the application process for verification by confirming the channel’s identity as well as by ensuring the channel is “complete” with an icon, content, and recent activity. 
  • Users who would have lost their checkmark praised the decision after originally expressing concern over the previous announcement.

YouTube Reverses Verification Policy Change

A day after YouTube announced it would be removing the verification checkmarks of some creators, it reversed course on Friday, saying creators who are already verified can keep their verification.

“To our creators & users–I’m sorry for the frustration & hurt that we caused with our new approach to verification,” YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki said on Twitter. “While trying to make improvements, we missed the mark.”

“We heard loud & clear how much the badge means to you,” she continued. “Channels that currently have verification will now keep it without appeal. We’ll continue reviewing those channels to ensure we’re protecting creators from impersonation.”

A post on YouTube Creator Blog echoed and expanded on Wojcicki’s tweets, saying the move was originally intended to curb impersonations and clear up associations with what the checkmark means.

“The idea behind this update was to protect creators from impersonation and address user confusion,” the blog post reads. “Every year, we receive tens of thousands of complaints from creators about impersonation. Also, nearly a third of YouTube users told us that they misunderstood the badge’s meaning, associating it with *endorsement of content*, and not an indicator of *identity*. While rolling out improvements to this program, we completely missed the mark. We’re sorry for the frustration that this caused and we have a few updates to share.”

Many creators praised YouTube for listening to their concerns. 

“Couldn’t be happier that YouTube listened to creators about verification badges and that Susan personally addressed the issue,” LifewithMaK said on Twitter. “There truly is strength in numbers. Our voices were heard loud and clear.”  

YouTube Changes Verification Policy

YouTubers were first made aware of the now-canceled change with an email shared Thursday, some of which read, “We’re writing to you to let you know that we’re updating the eligibility criteria for channel verification. Unfortunately, with these changes, your channel no longer meets the criteria to be verified.”

Notably, that list includes several prominent YouTubers like LifewithMaK, MacDoesIt, JaackMaate, Strawburry17, and Kiwiz. All of those creators have over one million subscribers, and Kiwiz boasts 2.34 million.

Prior to the announced change, creators only needed to attain 100,000 subscribers on their channel to apply for verification; however, under the new change, which had been expected to be completed by the end of October, creators would also have needed to pass several other requirements.

The first would have ensured the channel belongs “to the real creator, artist, public figure or company it claims to represent.” The second requirement would have applied even more strenuous challenges, such as “representing a well-known or highly-searched for creator, artist, public figure or company.” Additionally, creators would have needed to be “widely recognized outside of YouTube and have a strong presence online.”

Following the announcement, popular YouTubers criticized the move on social media, with many fearing the loss of their verification would translate into fewer views. Without the checkmark, they also feared their content would be demoted in searches. Notably, verified users also receive prioritization at the top of the comment section. 

“This HAS to be a bug on YouTube’s end,” Kiwiz said. “I have literally been invited to YouTube creator only events and even have my own YouTube Partner manager.  How is getting 15-20 million views a MONTH with over 2 million subscribers NOT fitting the criteria?”

Machiazelli Kahey the creator of MacDoesIt, a channel with around 1.9 million subscribers, criticized the platform after having appeared in a YouTube promotional campaign promoting black artists during Pride month.

Hi @youtube if you don’t keep my channel verified I would not like you to use my photos as marketing purposes on your socials,” he said in a Thursday Instagram story. “If you want to use me to shape the face of your company you’re gonna have to respect me as a face of your company thank you.” 

Several other major creators like James Charles and Jacksepticeye were not in danger of losing their checkmarks, but they still defended other creators on social media.

“Everyone getting unverified on YT today,” Jacksepticeye said. “It’s a slap in the face but try not let it get to you and demotivate you. Keep creating and making cool shit.”

Confusion Over Checkmarks

On the same day as the announcement, many users soon became confused on who would be losing a checkmark and who wouldn’t. 

One such example involved Jake Paul, who currently does not have a checkmark. YouTube later clarified, saying Paul lost the checkmark before the announcement when he changed his channel name to a joke name.

People also noticed mega creator PewDiePie, who recently hit 100 million subscribers, lacked a checkmark on mobile; however, PewDiePie has a checkmark on the site’s desktop layout.

YouTube then clarified again, saying, “The checkmark has never appeared on YouTube mobile channel pages (this will be added soon).”

Still, users were left confused after noticing that James Charles apparently has a verification check on mobile.

Source: YouTube
Source: YouTube
See what others are saying: (CNN) (Dexerto) (Gizmodo)

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Hackers Hit Twitch Again, This Time Replacing Backgrounds With Image of Jeff Bezos

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The hack appears to be a form of trolling, though it’s possible that the infiltrators were able to uncover a security flaw while reviewing Twitch’s newly-leaked source code.


Bezos Prank

Hackers targeted Twitch for a second time this week, but rather than leaking sensitive information, the infiltrators chose to deface the platform on Friday by swapping multiple background images with a photo of former Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. 

According to those who saw the replaced images firsthand, the hack appears to have mostly — and possibly only — affected game directory headers. Though the incident appears to be nothing more than a surface-level prank, as Amazon owns Twitch, it could potentially signal greater security flaws. 

For example, it’s possible the hackers could have used leaked internal security data from earlier this week to discover a network vulnerability and sneak into the platform. 

The latest jab at the platforms came after Twitch assured its users it has seen “no indication” that their login credentials were stolen during the first hack. Still, concerns have remained regarding the potential for others to now spot cracks in Twitch’s security systems.

It’s also possible the Bezos hack resulted from what’s known as “cache poisoning,” which, in this case, would refer to a more limited form of hacking that allowed the infiltrators to manipulate similar images all at once. If true, the hackers likely would not have been able to access Twitch’s back end. 

The photo changes only lasted several hours before being returned to their previous conditions. 

First Twitch Hack 

Despite suspicions and concerns, it’s unclear whether the Bezos hack is related to the major leak of Twitch’s internal data that was posted to 4chan on Wednesday.

That leak exposed Twitch’s full source code — including its security tools — as well as data on how much Twitch has individually paid every single streamer on the platform since August 2019. 

It also revealed Amazon’s at least partially developed plans for a cloud-based gaming library, codenamed Vapor, which would directly compete with the massively popular library known as Steam.

Even though Twitch has said its login credentials appear to be secure, it announced Thursday that it has reset all stream keys “out of an abundance of caution.” Users are still being urged to change their passwords and update or implement two-factor authentication if they haven’t already. 

See what others are saying: (The Verge) (Forbes) (CNET)

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Twitch Blames Server Configuration Error for Hack, Says There’s No Indication That Login Info Leaked

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The platform also said full credit card numbers were not reaped by hackers, as that data is stored externally. 


Login and Credit Card Info Secure

Twitch released a security update late Wednesday claiming it had seen “no indication” that users’ login credentials were stolen by hackers who leaked the entire platform’s source code earlier in the day.

“Full credit card numbers are not stored by Twitch, so full credit card numbers were not exposed,” the company added in its announcement.

The leaked data, uploaded to 4chan, includes code related to the platform’s security tools, as well as exact totals of how much it has individually paid every single streamer on the platform since August 2019. 

Early Thursday, Twitch also announced that it has now reset all stream keys “out of an abundance of caution.” Streamers looking for their new keys can visit a dashboard set up by the platform, though users may need to manually update their software with the new key before being able to stream again depending on what kind of software they use.

As far as what led to the hackers being able to steal the data, Twitch blamed an error in a “server configuration change that was subsequently accessed by a malicious third party,” confirming that the leak was not the work of a current employee who used internal tools. 

Will Users Go to Other Streaming Platforms?

While no major creators have said they are leaving Twitch for a different streaming platform because of the hack, many small users have either announced their intention to leave Twitch or have said they are considering such a move. 

It’s unclear if the leak, coupled with other ongoing Twitch controversies, will ultimately lead to a significant user exodus, but there’s little doubt that other platforms are ready and willing to leverage this hack in the hopes of attracting new users. 

At least one big-name streamer has already done as much, even if largely only presenting the idea as a playful jab rather than with serious intention. 

“Pretty crazy day today,” YouTube’s Valkyrae said on a stream Wednesday while referencing a tweet she wrote earlier the day.

“YouTube is looking to sign more streamers,” that tweet reads. 

I mean, they are! … No shade to Twitch… Ah! Well…” Valkyrae said on stream before interrupting herself to note that she was not being paid by YouTube to make her comments. 

See what others are saying: (Engadget) (BBC) (Gamerant)

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The Entirety of Twitch Has Been Leaked Online, Including How Much Top Creators Earn

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The data dump, which could be useful for some of Twitch’s biggest competitors, could signify one of the most encompassing platform leaks ever.


Massive Collection of Data Leaked 

Twitch’s full source code was uploaded to 4chan Wednesday morning after it was obtained by hackers.

Among the 125 GB of stolen data is information revealing that Amazon, which owns Twitch, has at least partially developed plans for a cloud-based gaming library. That library, codenamed Vapor, would directly compete with the massively popular library known as Steam.

With Amazon being the all-encompassing giant that it is, it’s not too surprising that it would try to develop a Steam rival, but it’s eyecatching news nonetheless considering how much the release of Vapor could shake up the market.

The leaked data also showcased exactly how much Twitch has paid its creators, including the platform’s top accounts, such as the group CriticalRole, as well as steamers xQcOW, Tfue, Ludwig, Moistcr1tikal, Shroud, HasanAbi, Sykkuno, Pokimane, Ninja, and Amouranth.

These figures only represent payouts directly from Twitch. Each creator mentioned has made additional money through donations, sponsorships, and other off-platform ventures. Sill, the information could be massively useful for competitors like YouTube Gaming, which is shelling out big bucks to ink deals with creators. 

Data related to Twitch’s internal security tools, as well as code related to software development kits and its use of Amazon Web Services, was also released with the hack. In fact, so much data was made public that it could constitute one of the most encompassing platform dumps ever.

Creators Respond

Streamer CDawgVA, who has just under 500,000 subscribers on Twitch, tweeted about the severity of the data breach on Wednesday.

“I feel like calling what Twitch just experienced as “leak” is similar to me shitting myself in public and trying to call it a minor inconvenience,” he wrote. “It really doesn’t do the situation justice.”

Despite that, many of the platform’s top streamers have been quite casual about the situation.

“Hey, @twitch EXPLAIN?”xQc tweeted. Amouranth replied with a laughing emoji and the text, “This is our version of the Pandora papers.” 

Meanwhile, Pokimane tweeted, “at least people can’t over-exaggerate me ‘making millions a month off my viewers’ anymore.”

Others, such as Moistcr1tikal and HasanAbi argued that their Twitch earning are already public information given that they can be easily determined with simple calculations. 

Could More Data Come Out?

This may not be the end of the leak, which was labeled as “part one.” If true, there’s no reason to think that the leakers wouldn’t publish a part two. 

For example, they don’t seem to be too fond of Twitch and said they hope this data dump “foster[s] more disruption and competition in the online video streaming space.”

They added that the platform is a “disgusting toxic cesspool” and included the hashtag #DoBetterTwitch, which has been used in recent weeks to drive boycotts against the platform as smaller creators protest the ease at which trolls can use bots to spam their chats with racist, sexist, and homophobic messages.

Still, this leak does appear to lack one notable set of data: password and address information of Twitch users.

That doesn’t necessarily mean the leakers don’t have it. It could just mean they are only currently interested in sharing Twitch’s big secrets. 

Regardless, Twitch users and creators are being strongly urged to change their passwords as soon as possible and enable two-factor authentication.

See what others are saying: (The Verge) (Video Games Chronicle) (Kotaku)

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