When the change was first announced, YouTube said it was hoping to make subscriber counts consistent across its desktop and mobile apps. "Beyond creating more consistency, this addresses creator concerns about stress and wellbeing, specifically around tracking public subscriber counts in real time," YouTube wrote in an update today. "We hope this helps all creators focus on telling their story, and experience less pressure about the numbers."
In April, Instagram tested a similar feature which hid "like" counts from viewers, but YouTubers point out that creators will still be able to see how many followers they have in YouTube Studio and YouTube Analytics. So if they're obsessing about new followers, this won't help. As Android Police points out, it might also make becoming a fan less personal because the subscriber count won't change when you subscribe.
Only accounts with more than 1,000 followers will have their subscriber count abbreviated. But the change also applies to the YouTube Data API Service, used by platforms like Social Blade, which tracks follower counts across YouTube, Twitch, Instagram and Twitter. The company spoke out against the change yesterday. In its update YouTube wrote, "While we know not everyone will agree with this update, we hope it's a positive step for the community, both those viewing and creating content."