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YouTube cancels billions of 'faked' music video views

By and Charlotte Grant-West
An alleged crackdown by YouTube on 'faked' video views on their site has led to billions of views being wiped from music videos.

Some of the world's biggest recording companies have had their content stripped of views as a result, with Sony and Universal Media Group losing nearly 2bn views in a single day.

Umbrella video, Rihanna

© WENN

Rita Ora in 'Shine Ya Light' music video.














The Daily Mail reports that the move left UMG, which has Rihanna and Justin Bieber on its roster, with just five videos on the site, and Sony, which represents Alicia Keys and Rita Ora, with just three, marking a huge commercial blow to both companies.

YouTube announced: "This was not a bug or security breach. This was an enforcement of our view-count policy."

The decision to wipe the views reportedly came after YouTube conducted an audit of its viewers in an attempt to combat 'black hat' view-count building techniques - when hackers artificially increase the number of views or likes on a YouTube video.

Video still of Justin Bieber in As Long As You Love music video.

© JustinBieberVEVO

Alicia Keys 'Brand New Me' video















There are a number of black hat websites and forums that trade information on how to boost views and likes.

The popularity of YouTube as a platform for displaying music videos, as well as the effect of a clip's popularity when calculating advertising revenue, means that the number of views and likes held by each video is becoming increasingly important.

However, some music industry sources claim that the cuts were a result of the videos migrating to another channel and that YouTube was simply "cleaning up".

Reports that Universal and Sony Music were stripped of billions of view counts could have been exaggerated by over 1.9 billion, according to The Guardian.

Since 2009, Universal and Sony have been moving their music videos away from their YouTube channels and over to Vevo, which the two companies partly own.

YouTube is therefore now only counting video views for videos that are still actually present on the channels, so cuts were always inevitable, claims the newspaper.

Google, which purchased YouTube in 2006, has so far declined to comment.

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