YouTube has had checkmarks depicting verified accounts for quite some time now, though such a badge only indicates a channel has more than 100,000 subscribers – no additional checks were involved. With recent misinformation and unsafe content spreading across the platform and hurting it financially, YouTube announced on Thursday it’s tightening its verification program, which might lead to some channels losing their verified status.

The new rules are much stricter and focus on authenticity and prominence even outside of YouTube:

Authenticity: Does this channel belong to the real creator, artist, public figure or company it claims to represent?

Prominence: Does this channel represent a well-known or highly searched creator, artist, public figure or company? Is this channel widely recognized outside of YouTube and have a strong presence online? Is this a popular channel that has a very similar name to many other channels?

Along with introducing higher entry hurdles, YouTube is also getting rid of the checkmark signifying verified accounts, giving them a gray backdrop behind their names instead. The company says checkmarks could suggest whatever is uploaded on a channel is approved by the platform, and getting rid of them altogether makes it more obvious this is not the case. The same is true for musicians, who will lose their note badge in favor of the backdrop. Parallel to that, YouTube is looking to introduce the new badges to its mobile apps which currently don’t indicate verification statuses at all.

The changes will affect every channel, meaning some creators might receive an email notifying them their account is about to lose its verified status. It’s possible to appeal the decision, but since the new requirements are much stricter, it’s likely some YouTubers end up losing their badge later down the road.

Price: Free