YouTube recently announced that it is hiding exact subscriber counts from the public later this year. Although the move has elicited mostly negative responses from netizens, YouTube said this move is necessary for one important reason: consistency.

In a blog, YouTube gave users an “early heads up,” saying it will start abbreviating public subscriber counts in August. This is so that it can “create more consistency everywhere” it displays a YouTube account’s subscriber counts.

YouTube said that currently, YouTube creators with more than 1,000 scubscribers see their subscriber counts differently when they look at their accounts using various YouTube desktop and mobile apps. Sometimes, the count appears abbreviated (like 133K) but in other times, the full count is displayed (e.g. 133,017).

YouTube said that by August, YouTube creators with less than 1,000 subscribers will still see their full subscriber counts, but those who have more than 1,000 subscribers will begin to see their subscriber counts abbreviated on a sliding scale.

Sliding scale

Here’s how the sliding scale works:

Creators with subscribers reaching to the thousands will see their subscriber counts abbreviated to the thousands, followed by a decimal. A 4,227 subscriber count, for example, will be shown as 4.2K.

Creators with subscribers reaching hundreds of thousands will see their subscriber counts abbreviated to a flat hundred thousand. This means accounts with 133,017 subscribers will see their counts displayed as 133K until their subscribers reach 134,000.

Creators with millions of subcribers will see their subscriber count abbreviated as well. For example, a channel with 51,389,232 subscribers will have a subscriber count displayed as 51M until its subscribers reach 52,000,000.

With this sliding scale, YouTube creators with more subscribers will find it more challenging to get a higher count displayed in public.

Third party sites

A YouTube spokesperson clarified to The Verge that sites using YouTube’s API Services to keep track of subscriber counts will also be affected by this update. These means third-party sites, like social ranking site Social Blade, might not be able to display full counts as well.

YouTube’s decision to abbreviate subscriber counts comes at a time when other sites are experimenting on hiding similar features. Instagram, for example, previously tried hiding the number of likes a photo gets from people.

Google will discontinue YouTube Gaming on March 2019. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic