YouTube plays more than 6 billion hours of video every month. As for how many of those views are real, it's hard to say.
Which is why YouTube announced it will start periodically auditing video views and removing views that might be fake.
The company already bans using third-party websites like these that sell YouTube views, likes and even comments — promising to make your video go viral. (Via Authentichits, LJ Media, BuyYouTubeCheapViews.com)
In a blog post, a software engineer at Google — which owns YouTube — wrote: "When some bad actors try to game the system by artificially inflating view counts, they're not just misleading fans about the popularity of a video, they're undermining one of YouTube's most important and unique qualities."
The move isn't all that surprising. Back in November, YouTube warned its users against purchasing views.
And in December 2012, the company removed about 2 billion fake views from the videos of major record labels. (Via Ubergizmo)
As for YouTube's latest crackdown on fake views, there are a few explanations — the most obvious being, businesses don't want to advertise to fake viewers.
Business Insider explains: "Now that YouTube is in a more appealing position to advertisers, it can't afford to jeopardize its business with fake views. YouTube needs to be able to assure advertisers that their ads are being seen by real people."
The Guardian notes there's another reason. "It's also likely related to the company's desire for channel-owners to build their audiences by paying to use its TrueView ads system."
Of course, YouTube's not the only tech giant that's had this problem.
An estimated 1 in 10 Twitter accounts are fake.
And Facebook is thought to have 83 million fake accounts.
Google said in a statement the new auditing system would not affect more than a small fraction of its videos.