YouTube Shorts has earned its place as one of the best short-form video offerings – aka TikTok clones – partially because it gets a lot of things right. One of the handy parts of YouTube Shorts both for creators and viewers was the ability to share links, but that’s ending because of spam.
As announced in a forum post today, YouTube will ban certain placements of links across the platform starting on August 31. This includes, primarily, the removal of clickable links in prominent locations in YouTube Shorts such as comments and descriptions.
Why the change? It all boils down to spam.
YouTube explains that links in Shorts are being used to drive clicks to “malware, phishing, or scam-related content” and that existing systems to handle this sort of spam don’t seem to be quite enough. Links will start going away on August 31 with a gradual rollout of the removal. Social links on desktop channel banners, a feature that’s been in place for years and years now, will also be going away.
Starting on August 31st, 2023, links in Shorts comments, Shorts descriptions, and links in the vertical live feed will no longer be clickable – this change will roll out gradually. We’re also removing the clickable social media icons from all desktop channel banners, as these can be a source of misleading links. We don’t have any plans to make any other links unclickable. Because abuse tactics evolve quickly, we have to take preventative measures to make it harder for scammers and spammers to mislead or scam users via links.
Starting on August 23, YouTube will start rolling out a pseudo-replacement for creators to use. New links will appear on channel pages near the subscribe button, where creators can link to social media, websites, and more. That’s similar to how Instagram, TikTok, and other platforms handle links and is honestly a bit of a shame. While this feels familiar, having more accessible, clickable links was one of many ways YouTube Shorts brought improvements to short-form video.
In September, YouTube will also roll out the ability to have shortcuts in Shorts to full-length videos on YouTube.
Further, YouTube says that its efforts to combat impersonation are working, with over 35% more channels terminated/removed this year compared to last, and that the “Improve Strictness” filter for comments has been upgraded, which brought a 200% increase in the number of comments held for review.
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