Update: The Despacito music video is now back online.
YouTube appears to have been hit by hackers, who have defaced several popular music videos. The site's most popular video – Despacito by Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee – has been removed completely, and its cover image replaced by an image of several people in masks and orange boiler suits wielding guns, taken from the Spanish TV show Money Heist.
Other artists affected include Tayor Swift, Shakira, Drake and Selena Gomez. These videos seem to be unchanged, but their titles have been edited to contain the names 'Prosox' and 'Kuroi'sh', and the word 'hacked'. Their cover images have also been swapped.
A Twitter account that seems to belong to one of the hackers claims the pair used a script to change the titles, adding "Don't judge me I love YouTube".
YouTube is unlikely to reciprocate that love. It's been busy improving relationships with record labels and establishing new partnerships (such as a recent deal with music info site Genius) to improve its image with music labels.
All the videos affected were uploaded by Vevo – a company that specializes in distributing licensed music videos and concert footage from major labels including Sony and Universal.
“The problem with these types of hacks is the potential for damage caused. For YouTube it’s a brand and PR issue," said Mark James, a security specialist at online security firm ESET. "For the artists it’s the personal damage of their brand being used for nefarious purposes."
"Some YouTube videos collect hundreds of thousands or indeed millions of views. The ability to push information to all those viewers is massive and in some cases we could even see actions to trick the user into going to websites or following [a] link.”
Via The Verge