Later this year, YouTube will display public subscriber counts in a more consistent manner across its official apps and clients. Instead of the full count, the Google video site is moving to abbreviate the number of users subscribed to a channel.
Announced as an “early heads up” (via The Verge) today, Google wants “to create more consistency everywhere that we publicly display subscriber counts.”
Currently, all creators with over 1,000 subscribers see their subscriber counts displayed differently in different places across YouTube desktop and mobile apps. In some cases, the subscriber count is abbreviated (e.g., 133k) and in other places we display the full count (e.g., 133,017).
YouTube is moving to a truncated variant everywhere, including the desktop website and mobile apps. The only accounts excluded are those with under 1,000 followers, with the exact figure being displayed until the threshold has been reached.
Third-party apps that use YouTube API Services will also be limited to displaying the abbreviated subscription total. Creators will still have access to the exact figure in YouTube Studio. Examples of the sliding scale include:
- If a channel has 4,227 subscribers, the public subscriber count will read “4.2k” until the channel reaches 4,300.
- If a channel has 133,017 subscribers, the public subscriber count will read “133K” until the channel reaches 134,000.
- If a channel has 51,389,232, the public subscriber count will read “51M” until the channel reaches 52,000,000.
YouTube recognizes that “subscriber counts are extremely important for creators and fans alike,” with the public reaction so far being mixed. Given the popularity of the video network, these figures are often closely watched especially when a threshold is about to be met.
Google removing this cultural event comes in the context of other networks, like Instagram, hiding public counts to foster a less adversarial and status-driven environment.
However, the official messaging on this change frames it as a push for consistency across apps. This change is rolling out in August, with YouTube providing more details close to the date.
We want to create more consistency everywhere we publicly display subscriber counts! Creators will still be able to see their exact number of subscribers in YouTube Studio.
— TeamYouTube (@TeamYouTube) May 21, 2019
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