YouTube wants everyone to know if you're simply cross-posting your Shorts to TikTok or Instagram Reels. In an update on its community help center, a Team YouTube member has announced that the website has started adding watermarks to Shorts downloaded from its Studio portal for creators. YouTube will start by watermarking Shorts you create on desktop over the coming weeks before expanding to mobile over the next months.
After TikTok exploded in popularity, other internet companies realized that short-form videos had won over the younger generation and had quickly developed new products to rival the platform. If you spend time consuming videos on several apps and websites, though, you can easily see that creators tend to repost the same videos across multiple services — a lot of Instagram Reels, for instance, are also TikTok videos.
The Google-owned website said that it's watermarking Shorts so "viewers can see that the content [the user is] sharing across platforms can be found on YouTube Shorts." It sounds like it's hoping that the new feature could raise awareness that it hosts short-form videos, as well, and get you to try it and use it over its competitors.
YouTube first launched its short-form video format in India back in 2020 before releasing it in 100 countries last year. A few months later, it set aside $100 million to start paying Shorts creators. By June this year, YouTube said Shorts already has 1.5 billion active, signed-in monthly users, which is a lot more than the 1 billion monthly active users TikTok said it reached back in September 2021.