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YouTube to overhaul channel names with @ handles for all

YouTube is launching “handles” to make it easier for viewers to find and engage with creators on the video-sharing platform.

The change means that soon, every channel will have a unique handle denoted by an “@” mark, “making it easier for fans to discover content and interact with creators they love,” the Google-owned company said in a post announcing the change.

On YouTube, handles will appear on channel pages and Shorts, making them instantly recognizable to subscribers and newcomers to a creator’s content.

“It’ll soon be simpler and faster to mention each other in comments, community posts, video descriptions, and more,” YouTube said. “For example, creators can be shouted out in a mention in comments or tagged in the title of a recent collab, helping them increase visibility and reach with new audiences.”

It added: “Handles join channel names as another way to identify a YouTube channel, but unlike channel names, handles are truly unique to each channel so creators can further establish their distinct presence and brand on YouTube.”

YouTube said that in the coming weeks it will begin contacting creators to let them know they can choose handles for their channels.

YouTube will direct creators to youtube.com/handle to choose a name. “If you don’t choose a handle by November 14, we will begin assigning one based on your channel name,” the company said, adding that you’ll be able to edit your handle name via the same site if you wish to change it.

Creators will also be given a youtube.com/@handle address, which they can use to access the web or other media to draw in viewers.

The existence of billions of different YouTube channels means that the company will contact creators gradually, and those with a large YouTube presence and subscriber count will be first in line to secure the handle of their choice.

Every YouTube channel — big or small — will eventually have a handle, whether chosen by the creator or assigned by YouTube.

No doubt that for many, the most surprising part of the new feature is that it’s taken YouTube so long to get there. After all, social media platforms such as Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter have always used the “@“ mark to denote an account name, and YouTube has been around longer than all of them.

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Trevor Mogg
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