YouTube Has Stopped Giving Play Buttons To Some Channels, Even If They Qualify

6 February 2018, 16:01 | Updated: 6 February 2018, 16:04

YouTube play buttons
YouTube play buttons. Picture: YouTube
Benedict Townsend

By Benedict Townsend

Some participation trophy news for you

YouTube will no longer send play button trophies to all YouTubers who have met the necessary subscriber count requirements. YouTubers have been reporting this anecdotally for a while now, and it seems that there has finally been an official response which backs it up:

Wait, what are YouTube play buttons?

YouTube play buttons are trophies given by YouTube to creators who reach certain subscriber count limits. You get a silver button at 100K subs, a gold one at 1 million subs and a diamond one at 10 million subs. There is also a ruby play button, which celebrates 50 million subscribers, but only one of these has ever been earned - by PewDiePie.


Who is no longer getting one?

There seems to be a variety of factors that can prevent you from receiving a trophy. These include having multiple copyright violations on your account and having fake subs (perhaps bots). More vaguely though, you can also be denied a play button due to the nature of your content not meeting YouTube's 'standards'.

It seems that YouTube is not-so-subtly avoiding channels which it would rather not be associated with. So bad news if your account is called something like FeministDefeater74 or Hooray4Nazism, cos YouTube doesn't want anything to do with you.

YouTube states, in its official guidelines, that: "Creator Awards are given at YouTube’s sole discretion and we only recognise creators that have played by the rules. Each channel is reviewed before an award is issued to keep the playing field fair."


You can yell about 'freedom of speech' all you want but it is utterly irrelevant when it comes to a private company mailing you a trophy. The fact is, they have absolutely no obligation to send these trophies out, they just do it because it's nice PR for them.

So play nice, don't cheat, and maybe you'll get a play button. Maybe. Who knows.