YouTube shorts are becoming increasingly popular as a TikTok alternative. Now, videos downloaded from YouTube Shorts to share elsewhere will be watermarked in a prominent way — just like TikTok.
Putting the watermark on downloaded videos is one way these platforms try to encourage platform loyalty. After all, it’s in a creator’s best interest to share their content across multiple platforms, right? To prevent this, TikTok has long been adding a TikTok watermark to all videos shared elsewhere online. Instagram soon followed with Reels, and now YouTube Shorts is the newest member of the pesky watermark crew.
“If you’re a creator who downloads your shorts from YouTube Studio to share on other platforms, you’ll now find a watermark added to your downloaded content,” reads a YouTube creator support page’s announcement. “We’ve added a watermark to the shorts you download so your viewers can see that the content you share cross-platform can be found on YouTube Shorts.”
At the moment it is unclear what the YouTube Shorts watermark will look like. TikTok has an animated music note that flickers across the screen to make it harder to hide. Both Instagram Reels and YouTube Shorts want to be aggressive when it comes to releasing their branding since TikTok has become the standard for short-form video content.
Instagram has even gone so far as to exclude short videos with another platform’s watermark from its Discover page. In April 2022, Instagram went even further, saying that its algorithm would favor “original content” with no watermarks from competitors.
YouTube Shorts launched in 2020 as a competitor to TikTok’s dominance in the short-form video segment. YouTube has committed $100 million to pay creators to use the platform and create more short video content for others to watch. The company says the new watermark will roll out to desktop in the coming weeks, and from there it will roll out to mobile.