Fakes on YouTube: Do They Exist? How does YouTube Fight Fraud?

Harshita Agrawal

Harshita Agrawal is the Founder at eSocMedia. She is a social media and influencer marketing specialist who spends most of her time behind the screen. She's also an avid reader and a travel enthusiast.

YouTube views are the single-most-important metric on YouTube that determines the popularity of a YouTube video. Whether a video is going viral or doing well or nobody cares about, everything is judged through YouTube views. Despite the importance of this metric, it would be unwise to assume that every view on YouTube is authentic. 

Just like Instagram has fake likes, Facebook has fake followers, Twitter has fake retweets, YouTube has fake views. Fake engagement on social media platforms is a common issue that the apps have been battling for years. Though the platforms have been working towards fake engagement by changing algorithms, there’s always a way around. 

For an everyday social media user, differentiating between fake engagement from original is impossible, hence giving benefits to those who misuse and buy engagement. 

For YouTube, you can simply search for “buy YouTube views” and Google will give you thousands of search results. It’s ironical that Google, being the parent company of YouTube, still shows sites that sell fake YouTube views when users ask for it. Can Google make it stop? Is YouTube making sure that it combats fake views and subscribers on the platform? 

Let’s have a look at the current scenario on how YouTube views are bought and how YouTube fights that.

Do Fake YouTube Views Exist? 

According to research by the New York Times, you can buy tens of thousands of YouTube views and have them delivered to you within hours or days. Fake YouTube views are sold by several sites at varied prices and each of them delivers the views they promise. 

Image Source

You can try as many sites as you want with a simple Google search. Most of these sites will even deliver you other fake YouTube engagement like subscribers and video likes. They also have bulk packages where the more services or likes you buy, the more affordable they are. The biggest issue is that even though some of them promise real views, there’s no way to know if the views sold are views by bots or real human views. 

YouTube employees have admitted that fake views are one of the biggest problems the company faces. According to YouTube’s director of product management, “This has been a problem we have been working on for many, many years.”  It would not be surprising to know that tens of millions of fake views are added to the platform each day with or without being detected by YouTube. 

Is YouTube Taking Initiatives to Curb Fake Views on the Platform?

YouTube has been attempting to curb fake engagement on the platform ever since they started receiving fake YouTube views. In 2012, YouTube stripped the platform of billions of fake views wherein big YouTube channels lost fake YouTube views. The top recording companies lost overall 2 billion views. 

Fast-forwarding to 2018-2019, many YouTube channels complained of losing millions of YouTube views overnight. In 2018, YouTube also slashed millions of fake subscribers wherein YouTube channels like T-series lost 200,000 fake subscribers. 

However, YouTube has announced that they do not remove views, they just verify for real views. They essentially freeze view counts of a video unless the audit has been done to verify the video views of a suspected video. Their fraud detection systems are in place to differentiate bot views from human views. The system is not 100% accurate as there are still channels buying fake YouTube videos. At the same time, there are YouTube channels losing real views on YouTube’s detection system. 

Image via Twitter

Should you Buy Fake YouTube Views?

There are several reasons why YouTube creators buy fake YouTube views. Some purchase it to jumpstart their YouTube account. Several creators have reported in the past that buying views have helped them rank in search results and get more views. Others buy it for the purpose of legitimacy. The more YouTube views a video has, the more legitimate it seems. 

Initially buying fake views could actually help YouTube channels rank higher in the search results and gain more organic video views. However, with YouTube’s stricter systems in place, it’s getting harder to get anything from fake video views. There are several channels that bought views in order to increase sales and website views and received nothing.