The world’s biggest recording companies have been stripped of two billion YouTube hits after the website cracked down on alleged ‘fake viewers’.
Universal, home of Rihanna, Nicki Minaj and Justin Bieber, lost a total of one billion views in the video site’s biggest ever crackdown on artificially inflated figures.
Sony was second hardest hit, with the label behind such stars as Alicia Keys, Rita Ora and Labrinth losing more than 850 million views in a single day.
The unprecedented move left Universal with just five videos on the site – none of which were music – and Sony with just three.
‘This was not a bug or a security breach. This was an enforcement of our viewcount policy,’ YouTube announced.
The dramatic falls, highlighted by figures compiled by YouTube statistics analysts at SocialBlade, came after YouTube conducted an audit of its viewing figures aimed at combating ‘black hat’ view count-building techniques.
That is the term used when hackers artificially build up the numbers of views or likes on a YouTube video – enabling them to make clips appear far more popular than they really are and increase their exposure on the site.
The Daily Dot reported how many of the channels affected – which also include ones belonging to Michael Jackson, Chris Brown and Beyonce, among others – had also had many videos deleted.