YouTube to disable links on Shorts to combat spam

YouTube has observed a significant surge in popularity for YouTube Shorts since its launch, particularly with creators now being able to generate revenue from their content. A notable feature of YouTube Shorts has been the convenience of sharing links.

However, to combat spam-related concerns, certain changes are set to take effect. Starting August 31, YouTube will prohibit specific placements of links across the platform. This primarily involves the elimination of clickable links in prominent areas of YouTube Shorts, such as comments and descriptions.

As a result, after August 31, shared links in YouTube Shorts comments, descriptions, and the vertical live feed will no longer be clickable. Additionally, the clickable social media icons currently present on the desktop channel banner will also be removed.

New Directing Mechanisms for Creators

YouTube will introduce a fresh approach, starting August 23, to enable creators to guide their viewers towards longer-form content:

Prominent Clickable Links on Channel Pages: Both mobile and desktop viewers will notice prominent clickable links on creators’ channel profiles, situated near the ‘Subscribe’ button. Creators can utilize this space to share websites, social profiles, merchandise sites, and other links that adhere to the Community Guidelines.

Seamless Integration of Shorts and Other Content: Acknowledging the significance of clickable links in helping creators guide their Shorts audience towards other content types, YouTube is developing a safer method for creators to direct viewers from Shorts to their additional YouTube content. This implementation is set to roll out by the end of September.

Combatting Spam Beyond Links

YouTube acknowledges the detrimental impact of spammy and scammy content on user experience. To address these concerns, YouTube is actively pursuing improvements in the following areas:

Reducing Impersonation: YouTube has made significant strides in detecting and removing impersonating channels, especially those imitating popular creators and public figures. This has resulted in over a 35% increase in the removal of such channels between Q1 2022 and Q1 2023.

Enhanced Comment Moderation: YouTube has improved its ‘Increase Strictness’ tool, identifying and holding potentially spammy or inappropriate comments for creator assessment. These enhancements have led to a 200% surge in comments held for review via this feature in the first week of June compared to May, according to YouTube.

Announcing the update, YouTube posted:

As we at YouTube continue to push the boundaries of innovation in 2023 and beyond, our top priority remains the safety and protection of our community. We are constantly developing new tools and features to enable creators to safely include links in their content, reducing spam and other deceptive practices on our platform, making YouTube a safer place for all.