PewDiePie is the most popular creator on YouTube. He has more than 50 million channel subscribers, and nearly 14 billion video views since arriving on the streaming service six years ago. Earlier this week, Forbes listed him as the top-earning YouTuber, raking in $15 million for the 12 months ending in June. So, you know, he’s doing pretty well.
But on Friday he’s going to delete his channel.
Whether PewDiePie – real name Felix Kjellberg – really will hit the delete button remains to be seen, but YouTube’s top vlogger clearly isn’t happy with the video streaming giant.
His main gripe stems from the fact that his videos are receiving fewer views than before, a change that he apparently thinks is down to some unexplained changes at YouTube, as well as some odd site behaviour, rather than fans becoming ex-fans.
In a video posted last Friday, the Swedish-born, London-based vlogger claimed YouTube is unsubscribing people from channels without their knowledge, so they don’t get to hear about new videos.
He also noted that in some cases videos aren’t appearing for a number of users even when they are subscribed, adding that he himself has been mysteriously unsubscribed from some of his favorite channels but resubscribed to others he’d stopped following some time ago.
“This is not just affecting me, it’s affecting other YouTubers and creators,” he said in last week’s video.
PewDiePie also complains about how YouTube has recently altered the way it promotes some videos over others.
“It’s really upsetting how they did this change. They won’t explain what happened properly, to anyone … a lot of YouTubers are noticing this.”
We’ve reached out to the Google-owned company for comment and will update if we hear back (check the update at the end of this article).
“YouTube is trying to kill my channel”
The vlogger claims that “YouTube is trying to kill my channel … it’s clear if you watch my analytics, it’s all going down there … I’m not going to let YouTube win.”
He believes his channel is being undermined “because I’m always complaining to them. I don’t have family-friendly content … YouTube wants my channel gone. They want someone else on top.”
Still, if he does ditch his 50 million subscribers, it sounds like he’s not done with YouTube entirely, which may not make a whole lot of sense to some people, considering how he seems to feel about the platform.
“I will delete my channel … I think it’s going to be pretty fun, I’m excited to delete my channel. And start fresh. With a new shitty channel probably. I won’t quit YouTube, I’ll just delete the channel.”
Whether his threat to hit the delete button is genuine, or simply a stunt to pull in even more views and subscribers, you’ll get to know at 5 p.m. GMT Friday, which is noon ET and 9 a.m. PT.
[Update: A YouTube spokesperson told Digital Trends: “Some creators have expressed concerns around a drop in their subscriber numbers. We’ve done an extensive review and found there have been no decreases in creators subscriber numbers beyond what normally happens when viewers either unsubscribe from a creator’s channel or when YouTube removes spammed subscribers. We do the latter to ensure that all creator subscriber numbers are accurate.”]