Decision-makers at YouTube have determined that an abundance of video views has actually been 'faked' by hackers. Note that the number of video views is used to determine worldwide popularity and appropriate shares of advertising revenue.
It marks a huge commercial blow to all the artists involved as YouTube is now the web's most important outlet for music videos.More on black-hat view count-building here.
Over four billion hours of video are watched by over 800million unique visitors to the site each month.
The dramatic falls, highlighted by figures compiled by YouTube statistics analysts at SocialBlade, came after YouTube conducted an audit of its viewing figures aimed at combating 'black hat' view count-building techniques.
That is the term used when hackers artificially build up the numbers of views or likes on a YouTube video - enabling them to make clips appear far more popular than they really are and increase their exposure on the site.