YouTube Shorts is a short-form video-sharing platform offered by YouTube. The platform hosts user content much like YouTube's primary service, but limits pieces to 60 seconds in length. Since its launch, YouTube Shorts has accumulated over 5 trillion views.
YouTube Shorts resembles TikTok. It presents 15 to 60 second long, user-generated videos in portrait mode also known as vertical video. It allows users to add licensed music and captions. Viewers scroll through endless videos. YouTube Shorts offers editing capabilities and the ability to interact with viewers by responding to comments with additional videos. Although primarily intended to be watched on smartphones, YouTube Shorts can be viewed on computers by typing #Shorts into the YouTube search bar.
YouTube Shorts was released as a beta in India in September 2020, following India's TikTok ban. In March 2021, it was released as a beta in the United States. It was globally released in July 2021, after releases in various countries.
In May 2021, YouTube announced the YouTube Shorts fund, a system in which top Shorts creators could be compensated. YouTube explained this as a way to "monetize and reward creators for their content" and that it would be "a $100M fund distributed over the course of 2021-2022", similar to TikTok's $1 billion creator fund. YouTube told The Hollywood Reporter that the fund is "just a stopgap until YouTube develops a long-term monetization and support tool for short-form creators that will be modeled after, but differ, from YouTube’s Partner Program." When the fund was released in August 2021, YouTube sent invites to over 3000 creators, offering from $100 to $10,000 a month.
In January 2022, a study showed that scammers were pirating popular posts on TikTok to re-post on YouTube Shorts, garnering millions of views. They pinned comments on their reposted videos containing commercial links, which generated money for them on a cost per action or cost per lead basis.