A hot potato: Having a verified badge is a big deal for creators and goes a long way in validating their channel in the eyes of both subscribers and sponsors. Removing a badge from a valid channel could seriously impact that creator’s ability to earn a living, but then again, YouTube is no stranger to making controversial decisions that affect monetization.

Google is changing the way it verifies channels on YouTube to prioritize those that “have a clear need for proof of authenticity.”

Currently, a channel on the video sharing platform is eligible for verification if it has more than 100,000 subscribers – a method that worked well when YouTube was smaller but not so much as the site has grown in popularity.

Now, YouTube said it will look at a number of factors to determine if a channel is eligible for verification including seeing if it actually belongs to the real creator, artist, company or public figure it claims to represent, seeing if the channel is similar in name to other channels (presumably to determine if it is a clone, a satire account or the real account in a sea of look-alikes) and determining if it has a strong presence / is widely recognized outside of YouTube.

A YouTube representative told The Verge that channels who no longer meet the criteria for verification and may have their badge removed will be notified today and that they will have the option to appeal the decision before the changes start rolling out in late October.