YouTube Strikes Back at Spam: Disabling Links in Shorts and More

In the ongoing battle against spam, YouTube tightens its grip on link management within its Shorts feature. Here's what's changing and why.

YouTube’s two-year-old Shorts feature has been under siege by spammers, and the platform is finally taking action. Starting August 31st, YouTube is deactivating links in the descriptions, comments, and vertical live feed of Shorts videos. Even social media icons on desktop channel banners won’t escape the ax. These changes are designed to curb the rising spam problems within the community.

While YouTube assures that this move against “unclickable” links won’t go beyond the current changes, the platform acknowledges the need to stay vigilant. In the words of YouTube, “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.”

New Link Opportunities for Creators

The war against spam isn’t stopping YouTube from empowering creators with new link features. From August 23rd, a prominent clickable link will appear beside the Subscribe button on creators’ channels. This link can direct users to various destinations, from merchandising sites to social media accounts. Additionally, YouTube has introduced fresh creator tools for Shorts, such as voiceovers.

However, users will have to wait until at least the end of September for “safer” ways to navigate from Shorts back to the creators’ other content.

YouTube Shorts
Source: YouTube

Taking Aim at Impersonation Accounts

Beyond the battle against link-based spam, YouTube is also stepping up its game against impersonation accounts. By enhancing the strategies to identify and remove these malicious accounts, the platform has managed to delete over 35 percent more accounts for impersonation in the first quarter of 2023 compared to the same period in 2022. Whether this surge in removals stems from improved policies or simply a rise in fake accounts remains ambiguous.

To further filter the platform’s content, YouTube is holding more comments for review through its newly deployed Increase Strictness feature.

A Balanced Approach to Spam Control

YouTube’s latest anti-spam initiatives mark a balanced approach. While disabling links in Shorts may seem like a significant change, it’s counterbalanced by adding new link opportunities for creators and improving content filtering.

These changes reflect YouTube’s commitment to enhancing user experience by reducing spam, without compromising opportunities for genuine creators. The platform’s ability to strike this balance will undoubtedly shape the user experience in the months and years ahead, as it continues to adapt to the ever-evolving challenges of online spam and scams.