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YouTube takes advantage of India's TikTok ban by launching Shorts

By Shawn Lim | Reporter, Asia Pacific

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September 15, 2020 | 3 min read

YouTube has launched YouTube Shorts, a short-form video experience akin to TikTok, to capitalise on the ban of the Bytedance-owned app in India.

India’s Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology has placed a blanket ban on 59 mobile apps owned by Chinese companies, including TikTok, which it said: “engaged in activities prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, the defence of India, and the security of the state and public order”.

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YouTube Shorts will allow users to upload 15-second or less short-form videos using a new set of creator tools.

TikTok is currently also facing a similar ban in the US and Microsoft has announced it will not take over TikTok’s US operations, sparking widespread overnight press coverage claiming the platform had instead struck a technology partnership with Oracle.

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That deal is not yet confirmed, however, as China's state-run English television channel CGTN said on Monday that TikTok's parent company, Bytedance, would not give up the source code for the video platform to any US buyers.

What is YouTube Shorts?

• YouTube Shorts allows users to upload 15-second or less short-form videos using a set of creator tools, including a multi-segment camera, speed controls and a timer with a countdown feature.

• The videos can be set to music, using YouTube’s access to a large library of songs and feature tracks from partners like T-Series and Believe Digital.

• The multi-segment camera lets users string together multiple video clips into one short clip.

• The other controls enable YouTube creators to be more creative than if they simply pressed a “record” button.

• The tools offered by YouTube Shorts are very similar to the TikTok video recording experience, and are echoed on Instagram's recently launched TikTok rival, Reels.

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