While “Gangnam style” was out racking up a billion views, channels owned by Sony and Universal have moved twice as far in the other direction. YouTube has stripped them of these views alleging a violation of the YouTube terms of service which prohibit the artificial inflating of view-counts.
According to SocialBlade statistics dug up by The Daily Dot, the Universal Music Group channel lost 1 billion views on December 18th, and another million today. Likewise, the SonyBMG channel lost 851 million views on December 17th. In addition, the channels’ collections of videos seems to have been pared down too, with Universal’s boasting a mere 5, and SonyBMG’s empty. It’s worth noting, as Universal pointed out to the Daily Dot, that though affected, Universal’s channel has been dormant since it started focusing on Vevo.
The big guys were not the only ones affected. Lots of less personal users also found themselves the target of takedowns due to YouTube TOS violations, and in the support forums, YouTube confirmed this was not a bug or a mistake, but an enforcement of rules banning view-count inflation.