Pagan YouTube content creators beware

A breaking story, yet to be verified officially by YouTube, indicates that a new bot on the platform is alleged to be spoofing and hacking channels. In comment sections, the phrase “Wanna be friends” is the lure used to draw the unsuspecting users to click on the poster’s channel.Once there, the visitor’s information is compromised.

It is important to note that without an official statement from the platform, presuming the validity of the threat is at your own risk. However, due to the increased numbers in viewers due to stay at home orders, many Pagans increased their output of videos. Not only used to afford publicity, creating a sense of community seems to thrive online in the face of the disappearing festival season.

As owner of several YouTube channels, I have seen this comment. I never clicked on it. It leads to a channel named Logan, but the name changes to several aliases. However, the creator William Evans aka Evanz111 provides a more indepth video here .

“…seems on the surface at first I thought it was an upstart YouTube channel trying to do some marketing but it quickly dawned on me how much more sinister this situation was thousands of people have lost their entire channels from this one innocent common and it’s one of the largest security breaches I’ve seen YouTube go through throughout my decade …” – William Evans

William Evans@Evanz111, the creator of the expose video, organized a call for help to Team YouTube for support after conducting an investigation of this own. He claims thousands of channels have been compromised. At publishing of this article, those numbers have not been verified. However, he has provided evidence of hacking into his own account, and gives additonal proofs of concern. The hashtag #YoutubersAtRisk . Other channels are currently spreading this alarm on their own channels, as increasing reports of channels being stolen rise. At the current time, this phenomena is not being reported on SubscribeStar.

Ponji Ninja, another content creator has a bit more information for the concerned content surfer. She warns against panicking that simply subscribing to the channel will not necessarily compromise your account. In her video, she states:

There’s some wild theories going around about how if you sub to these bots, they’ll be able to steal your channel. Now I’m not saying I don’t get where that comes from. A lot of these bots are actually stolen channels, and there’s pretty extensive evidence to support that, but subbing to them alone isn’t what lets them steal your channel. I mean don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of ways they can steal your channel,and I’ll get to those in a bit, but subbing does just that, subscribe you to their channel … That’s not how the channel stealing works. But New scams are popping up every single day, and you need to stay vigilant Phishing scams are still by far the most popular. A big one that hit the youtube auto community a while ago took them to a fake google login, from there, their account info would be stolen the channel would be re-assigned to another user, and sometimes the URL would be changed so people would think it was deleted. And it worked Really [sic] well. Because it’s hard when this happens on mass levels, and some channels are forgotten about, some aren’t used as much. Another big one is actually fake sponsorship scams where you’re offered a sponsorship if you just download this application or product. A lot of YouTubers don’t vet sponsors, or even if you do, it’s easy to set up a fake website or fake reviews. – How ‘Youtube Friends’ Comment Bots Actually work (Logan/music/Calls/tom/mr beast) Explained!

Platform users, in general, should exercise the usual cautions when it comes to providing information over the internet. If suspicious activity with an account is detected, change all passwords. If you are a creator, contact Youtube immediately if you suspect your account to be compromized.

However, though this seems a straightforward process toward remedy, it is not that simple. YouTube is under the same restricted staffing that other businesses face during the Covid 19 pandemic. Getting in touch with someone can take hours, days, weeks, or follow up through usual channels. Tweeting Team YouTube seems to help, but it is no guarantee, especially for a smaller channel.

Scott Choucino recommends a more direct path toward interaction. He recommends that you report your channel for copyright infringement. Then click the live chat button, explain the situation, and then follow through with the representative who responds. While an unusual path, it seems to be working for some users. Speedy action is advised to protect your accounts from further damage.

Figuring out how to navigate the new virutal realities for many old school Pagan businesses and content creators means knowing about these hazards. Online housekeeping is essential to keeping your information, and those of your subscribers and sponsors safe. Take time to check your channel today.

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