YouTube will soon start handing out @name handles across the platform to every user, whether they are a content creator or not. Every user will have unique name handles, even those who watch videos on the platform and do not engage with the content by liking/disliking the video, leaving comments, or sharing.

Think of it as having your unique Instagram or Twitter handle. YouTube, for a long time, has been a video-sharing and hosting platform. However, Alphabet wants to see YouTube grow into the world’s biggest social media platform. That is why the platform has started allowing creators to share non-video posts with their audiences.

Under YouTube’s new direction, 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 an alias 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. Only creators or people who regularly upload videos on YouTube have unique @name handles.

“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.

Several creators have raised an issue, saying that their subscribers are often duped by impersonator accounts, who create fake channels with similar profile images and channel names. By introducing custom handle names for all users, YouTube hopes to curtail this problem.

YouTube will be rolling out handles gradually starting this week by notifying users when it’s their turn to pick an epithet, 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.

Everybody's a YouTuber_ Why YouTube is assigning unique name handles to every user, just like content creators (1)

YouTube hope’s that @name handles will help creators deal with impersonator accounts. Image Credit: YouTube

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 accounts. Users typically need 100 or more subscribers to create a custom URL.

This move comes when YouTube is working to become more like a social media platform, specifically TikTok. 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.

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