Alphabet Inc. GOOG GOOGL-owned YouTube will soon let its users have a unique handle that can be used across channels and Shorts — the platform's TikTok competitor.
What Happened: Every YouTube user would have a distinct @username handle that they can use across the platform. Such handles are a common norm on social media platforms such as ByteDance's TikTok, Meta Inc's (META Facebook and Instagram and Twitter Inc's TWTR namesake platform.
These handles will make “it easier for fans to discover content and interact with creators they love,” said YouTube.
Users can utilize these handles to “mention each other in comments, community posts, video descriptions and more” in order to increase visibility and gain traction.
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Starting this week, YouTube will gradually roll out handles by notifying users when it's their turn to choose one. Notifications will be sent out based on a channel's activity level, subscriber count and overall YouTube presence. As a result, some users will get their handles before others.
As opposed to channel names, these handles are unique to each channel, allowing creators to better establish their online presence and brand identities, said YouTube.
Since users normally require 100 or more followers to create a custom URL, claiming a handle can also be the motivation non-YouTube creators need to sign up for the service or maintain their account.
Why It’s Important: The addition of handles comes at a time when YouTube is trying to take on the Chinese short-video app TikTok. Of late, YouTube has increased its commitment to Shorts, its competitor to TikTok.
In September, the platform disclosed its plans to place advertisements in Shorts.
YouTube said that Shorts would soon be monetizable, and promised to assist millions of creators in generating income from their content on the platform. Creators can keep 45% of the total revenue generated, it said.
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