All YouTube users will soon get a new way of identifying themselves. The company announced today that @name handles will be used across the platform, a convention that’s common elsewhere on the internet but a departure for YouTube.
Every YouTube user will have a unique handle that applies across the platform, from channel pages to Shorts, YouTube’s TikTok competitor. Users can use a handle to mention others in comments, video descriptions, titles, and more, which YouTube says will make it easier for creators to reach audiences and increase visibility.
“We want to ensure creators can craft an identity as unique as their content, while giving viewers the confidence that they are interacting with their favorite creators,” YouTube says in its blog. Creators will still have a channel name, but handles will be unique, potentially cutting down on impersonator accounts.
YouTube will be rolling out handles gradually starting this week by notifying users when it’s their turn to pick a handle, meaning some people will get to claim theirs before others. If a user has already created a personalized URL for their channel, that will be their default handle (they’ll have the option to change it once it’s their turn).
YouTube says it will roll out notifications based on factors like overall presence on the platform, subscriber count, and whether the channel is active. Claiming a handle could also be the push needed for creators who aren’t on YouTube to join the platform or tend to their account — users typically need 100 or more subscribers to create a custom URL (a notice says choosing, modifying, and deleting URLs is currently on pause).
The addition of handles brings YouTube further in line with TikTok just as the company doubles down on its investment into Shorts. Last month, YouTube announced it would bring monetization to Shorts, letting creators keep 45 percent of the ad revenue. It’s also added updates like watermarks to Shorts reposted elsewhere and tools to use longer videos in short-form clips over the last few months as it takes on TikTok.