YouTube Users Will No Longer Be Able to Direct-Message Each Other After Sept. 18

The feature debuted in August 2017 as a way to share videos with friends

YouTube's sharing feature at its August 2017 debut YouTube
Headshot of David Cohen

YouTube will pull the plug on its direct-messaging feature Sept. 18.

The Google-owned video site rolled out the feature in August 2017, describing it at the time as a way for users to share videos and chat directly within its mobile application, with a then-new Shared tab housing content distributed in this fashion.

The feature was extended to YouTube for the web last May.

However, in a Google Support post this week, the company wrote, “Two years ago, we launched a feature to enable you to share videos via direct messages on YouTube. Since then, we’ve also focused on public conversations with updates to comments, posts and stories. We’re constantly reevaluating our priorities and have decided to discontinue YouTube’s native direct-messaging feature while we focus on improving public conversations.”

Sarah Perez of TechCrunch pointed out that based on comments posted in a thread below the Google Support post, many younger users complained that YouTube’s direct-messaging feature was the only way they could keep in touch with friends, citing lack of phones, not having permission to share phone numbers or being prohibited from using other social platforms. David Cohen is editor of Adweek's Social Pro Daily.