YouTube is cracking down on fake or “dead” video views, and some of the biggest losers are music videos.
YouTube eliminated 2 billion hits from videos posted by Universal Music Group and Sony, according to the U.K.’s Daily Mail. Universal lost more than 1 billion video views, and Sony lost more than 850 million – in a single day.
The Google-owned YouTube is combating “black hat” view-count building techniques – ways to supplement page views and artificially inflate popularity. Not only can the black hat view counts make videos more popular than they appear (for instance, the controversial Kony 2012 video was accused of being the recipient of such tactics), but video views are the primary figures for distributing advertisement revenue between YouTube and its partners, according to the Mail.
Universal is home to acts like Rihanna, Nicki Minaj and Justin Bieber. Sony handles acts like Alicia Keys and Rita Ora.
“This was not a bug or a security breach,” YouTube said. “This was an enforcement of our viewcount policy.”
Leona Lewis – the “X Factor” winner who sang at the closing ceremonies at the Summer Olympic Games in Beijing and who is the protégé of Simon Cowell – was hit especially hard, losing 24 million views.
Although YouTube video views are an indicator of an act’s popularity, some appear to still be valid. LMFAO’s “Party Rock Anthem,” remains above 500 million views, and PSY’s “Gangnam Style” remains above 1 billion.