If you view short videos made on TikTok, then you will observe a watermark that bounces its way around the video as it plays. This makes it particularly challenging for those who wish to remove the watermark and post the video on other platforms.
YouTube has its own TikTok competitor in the form of YouTube Shorts, and it has been constantly pushing the feature to the forefront. Like Meta is doing with Reels (its own counter to TikTok), Alphabet’s video sharing platform has announced and rolled out a number of features to entice creators to create more Shorts on the platform.
Now, it has taken a page out of TikTok’s book as it looks to roll out a similar watermark for all Shorts that are downloaded by users. In a thread on Google’s support page, Sarah, Community Manager, Team YouTube, wrote that the new watermark feature will be rolling out to desktop over the next few weeks.
Once it has successfully rolled out to desktop users, watermarks will come to YouTube’s mobile iteration over the coming months.
Here is the watermark feature in a nutshell – every time creators make a Short on YouTube and download the video to post it on other platforms (such as Instagram), they will be unable to re-post it without a prominent YouTube watermark appearing on the video.
“We’ve added a watermark to the Shorts you download so your viewers can see that the content you’re sharing across platforms can be found on YouTube Shorts,” the post on the thread read.
It is clear why YouTube has decided to add watermarks to Shorts that are downloaded. A chunk of YouTube Shorts and Instagram Reels consist of short videos that have originally been posted on TikTok – creators simply post the same video on other platforms instead of actually making original content. This has prompted the platforms to take steps and ensure that the same content are not posted to other platforms and creators take the initiative to create and post original content. And if creators continue to re-post content on other platforms, then viewers can easily see where the content was originally posted (in YouTube’s case, with the help of the watermark).
Instagram has already taken steps to ensure the same – one such measure is announcing the creation of “Rankings for Originality” (which does exactly what the name suggests) in April. At that time, Instagram head Adam Mosseri said that they would value original content more, as compared to reposted content.