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'Where have all my subscribers gone?' YouTube glitch drastically slashes stats

Charnsit Ramyarupa/123RF
If you’re a YouTube creator who watched in horror on Wednesday as your subscriber count suddenly dropped by thousands — if not hundreds of thousands — in a matter of hours, then don’t be alarmed.

Unless the quality of your videos has been particularly dire lately, or you did something to offend a large chunk of your fans, the sudden apparent drop in followers is actually due to an issue inside YouTube’s engine room.

In an odd turn of events that gained widespread attention on Wednesday, every time someone unsubscribed from a YouTube channel, the count dropped by not one user but two.

YouTube acknowledged all was not well in a tweet, admitting that the glitch was first spotted at the start of the week.

“Yikes! Starting Monday, in some cases, we accidentally started counting two unsubs for the price of one. We’re working on a fix!” YouTube said in its Twitter message.

With the tweet posted Wednesday and the fix still not in place, it’s likely there are a good number of very concerned creators out there wondering what on earth is going on.

YouTube confirmed in another tweet that only users who unsubscribed from a channel would be unsubscribed, and that all the proper numbers would show up again just as soon as they found a way of squashing the bizarre bug.

We’re aware! No subs are/were lost,” YouTube said. “It’s just the count that is incorrect.”

The issue gained wider attention when YouTube star PewDiePie, a guy who’s been banging on about issues with the video streaming giant for a while now, tweeted on Wednesday that every unsubscribe counted not as one, or even two, but as 100 – a figure clearly disputed by YouTube.

Nevertheless, PewDiePie, who has more than 52 million subscribers to his channel, momentarily “lost” a good number of them thanks to the error. A collection of real-time counters posted by BlackScreenTV showed PewDiePie’s subscriber count drop by more than 150,000 in just a couple of hours, while across the day it fell by more than half a million.

At the time of writing, the same live counter appears to suggest that the issue has been sorted, though for a while it no doubt had creators with huge followings wondering what it was they’d done to cause their fans to suddenly scarper.

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Trevor Mogg
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