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All the YouTube Shorts you repost to TikTok will now tell on you

All the YouTube Shorts you repost to TikTok will now tell on you

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Downloaded Shorts will now have a YouTube watermark

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Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

YouTube knows you’re resharing videos you made on YouTube Shorts — and the company wants to be credited.

In a post about new features shared yesterday, a YouTube representative said that the company would start adding watermarks to Shorts videos when a creator downloads them. Some creators will make shortform videos in one app, download their video, and repost the same clip to other platforms. In the post, YouTube is clear about why it’s adding watermarks.

“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,” it reads.

All the major shortform video platforms are fighting for creators and viewers, and other companies have gone about the cross-platform sharing issue in a variety of ways. Downloaded TikTok videos have long contained watermarks and the creator’s username, so viewers can easily go to the app to find the original video.

Meanwhile, it was no secret that many Instagram Reels creators were reposting their TikToks — watermarks and all — instead of making original content. Last year, Instagram said it wouldn’t promote Reels that had its competitor’s watermark. In April, it went even further, saying it would tweak its algorithm to give preference to “original content” — essentially dangling a carrot for creators to make stuff just for Reels.

YouTube has been heavily pushing Shorts since it launched the product in 2020. The company set aside $100 million to dole out to creators who make Shorts, and shortform clips are taking up more and more real estate on the YouTube app, including in recommendations and a dedicated Shorts tab.

The Shorts watermark will begin rolling out in the next few weeks on desktop and expand to mobile in the coming months, according to the post. Get your watermark-free downloads in before that!