YouTube’s updated guidelines require channels to disclose if they are fan accounts

YouTube is making some changes to its guidelines on impersonation to require fan channels to make it obvious in their channel name or handle that they don’t represent the company or artist that their account focuses on. This updated guidelines will take effect on August 21, 2023.

The company notes that channels claiming to be a fan account, but that are actually posing as another’s channel and reuploading their content, will not be allowed on the platform. In addition, channels with the same name and avatar or banner as another channel, with the only difference being a space inserted into the name or a zero replacing the letter O, will not be allowed.

Users are also not allowed to set up a channel using the name and image of a person, and then post comments on other channels as if they were posted by the person. Another example of behavior that would violate this policy includes channels claiming to be a fan account in the channel description, but not stating so clearly in their channel name or handle.

“This update will help genuine fan channels know exactly how you can celebrate your favorite creators, while also protecting original creators from content and channels that are impersonating them,” the company wrote in a blog post. “This update should also ensure that viewers won’t be misled by the channels they interact with and follow, and creators won’t have their name and likeness used for malicious purposes.”

YouTube didn’t have a strict policy regarding fan accounts in the past, as it simply stated that impersonation channels were not allowed on the platform. Now, fan accounts must declare that they are in fact, just fan accounts in order to avoid having their channels deleted. YouTube’s new policy makes it clear that when a channel, or content in the channel, causes confusion about the “source of goods and services advertised,” it may not be allowed.

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