YouTube is adding more protective measures on its Short Form video platform, YouTube Shorts to curb the increasing cases of scams and spam. YouTube shorts will be disabling all links on Shorts descriptions, comments and vertical live feed by making them unclickable starting August 31, 2023. The new policy is meant to protect users from getting exploited through phishing, malware, and other malicious scams via the spammy links on the platform.
YouTube already has existing systems and policies in place to detect and remove spam and scam links. However, the company notes the need for additional preventative measures to make it harder to take advantage of users via links. The company adds, “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.”
Creators who may want to direct users to their long-form content will still be able to do so by the end of September. According to YouTube, it will start introducing a safer way for creators to direct viewers from Shorts to their other YouTube content by the end of September.
In addition, clickable social media icons from all desktop channel banners will no longer show. While this is an important feature to creators as it guides users to their accounts on other platforms to drive more engagements and help in their monetization efforts, the company says it is a necessary measure as the social media icons “can be a source of misleading links.” YouTube plans to introduce “safer ways” to help creators include important links in their content.
YouTube will be adding prominent clickable links on creators’ channel profiles near the ‘Subscribe’ button. Creators can use this space to include their social media profiles, websites, merch sites and any other link that complies with YouTube Community Guidelines.
Reducing spam beyond links
YouTube has recently been working on more ways to detect and remove harmful content beyond links. This includes its systems and policies aimed at detecting and removing impersonating channels. From Q1 2022 to Q2 2023, the company notes an increase in the number of channels removed/terminated from YouTube due to impersonation by over 35%.
In addition, the company introduced a comment moderation tool, the “Increase Strictness” feature. This feature detects and holds potentially spammy and inappropriate comments for optional review by creators. YouTube adds that the feature has led to a 200% increase in comments held for review.
YouTube says it has no plans to make any more links unclickable.