How Does YouTube Detect Fake Subscribers?

Oct 16, 2020


If you've researched growing a YouTube channel, you might have stumbled upon the subject of fake subscribers. What are fake subscribers, and how does YouTube detect fake subscribers? Is there a way for you to tell if your subscribers are fake? Also, why do people fill their channels with fake subscribers in the first place?

Many fake subscribers are detected and deleted by YouTube daily. Fake subscribers are typically detected by YouTube by looking at the delivery method of the subscribers, the accounts used to subscribe, and the IP addresses of each account. Usually, fake subscribers all share the same qualities, making it easy for YouTube to detect them.

Having a channel full of fake subscribers is essentially useless. While the subscriber count of the channel will increase, there will be no increase in video views. Fake subscribers do not watch any videos, as they are simply meant to artificially inflate subscriber counts. But if fake subscribers are useless, why do so many people purchase them for their channel?

What Are Fake Subscribers


Fake subscribers are YouTube accounts created to inflate subscriber counts. These subscribers never watch any videos or provide any benefits other than inflating the subscriber count of a channel. As with fake followers on other platforms, fake subscribers are essentially useless.

Typically, the fake accounts created to subscribe to channels are created unnaturally. Meaning, the accounts are created through the use of automation software and the use of different IP addresses. Again, the entire purpose of the existence of these accounts is simply to subscribe to YouTube channels.

Sometimes, old YouTube accounts get hacked and used as fake subscribers. This helps with making the subscribers more "real" looking. However, just because these accounts were once real, it doesn't mean that YouTube can't detect red-flags. Again, these hacked accounts used to subscribe to channels are just as useless to have as subscribers as the created accounts.

Can YouTube Detect Fake Subscribers


Can YouTube detect fake subscribers like they detect bots? The answer to this question might seem obvious, but there are still a lot of fake subscribers that exist on YouTube. Since there are so many fake subscribers still on YouTube, it's reasonable to question if their detection methods are effective.

YouTube does a decent job of detecting fake subscribers. Typically, fake subscribers are detected based on the account creation method used, and the IP addresses used to create and operate the accounts. Along with this, fake subscriber accounts all behave similarly, making it easy for YouTube to group possible fake accounts.

Many accounts used to subscribe to channels are also used to spam comments on YouTube videos. Usually, these accounts post comments that contain website links or gibberish. As you might imagine, this behavior also raises red-flags and brings attention to the accounts from YouTube.

Why Do People Purchase Fake Subscribers


If fake subscribers are so useless, then why do people purchase them? Well, there are a few reasons why people buy fake subscribers. Often, things are more innocent than they might seem. Many people are misled into purchasing fake subscribers and they do not learn about the damage they are doing to their channel until it's too late.

One of the main reasons people purchase fake subscribers is to inflate their subscriber count. Many content creators place a lot of value in their subscriber count and believe it is more important than it is. Due to this, purchasing fake subscribers becomes a way of satisfying their need to have more subscribers.

Another reason people purchase fake subscribers is so they can reach the 1,000 subscribers threshold for the YouTube Partner Program. Since many people start a YouTube channel in hopes of monetizing their videos, purchasing fake subscribers can help speed up the time it takes to get into the YouTube Partner Program.

No matter what the reason is, purchasing subscribers is never a good idea. It's against the YouTube Terms of Service and it ends up being a waste of money when the fake subscribers get deleted by YouTube. Shortcuts to achieving success on YouTube don't exist, so it's best to put in the effort and legitimately do things.

How to Tell If YouTube Subscribers Are Fake


Learning how to tell if YouTube subscribers are fake can help you determine if you're gaining subscribers of value or not. Many people want to know how to tell fake subscribers apart from real subscribers so they can tell if another channel is buying subscribers. I recommend caution with this, as many channels appear to have fake subscribers when they don't.

Usually, fake subscribers will feature generic names and display pictures. Female names and pictures are commonly used to fill out fake accounts, but sometimes male names and pictures are used as well. If you visit the channel page of a fake account, it will look incomplete and empty. No YouTube channel banner or channel description will be present.

It's important not to assume that a channel is purchasing fake subscribers. Many old channels, for example, have large subscriber counts but get low views. To many people, channels like this would appear to be purchasing fake subscribers to inflate their subscriber counts. In reality, these channels have simply accumulated a large number of inactive subscribers.

Fake subscribers and inactive subscribers as similar, but are typically gained in different ways. YouTube, however, treats these accounts the same way during their subscriber purges. Whether a channel has fake or inactive subscribers, it will see a decrease in subscriber count after a subscriber purge.


YouTube does a pretty good job at detecting fake subscribers. Many fake subscribers are accounts that have been created in a particular manner. These accounts tend to raise red-flags, leading to them getting deleted. So, how does YouTube detect fake subscribers? They look at the creation method of an account and the IP addresses used.

Daniel James
Hi there! I’m Daniel, the founder, and CEO of Tubefluence. I help businesses and influencers utilize the power of YouTube marketing to grow an audience and generate leads.
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