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Report: YouTube Plans ‘Shorts’ Video Feature to Compete With TikTok

Fern Siegel

TikTokโ€™s popularity is about to be challenged.

YouTube is reportedly at work on a video-sharing feature called Shorts, slated to appear at the end of the year. The new feature will be part of the YouTube app, according to The Information, which first reported the news. Users will be able to create their own videos, which could utilize music that YouTube licenses.

YouTube hasnโ€™t officially commented, but the stakes are high.

TikTok is a social-media app used most by teens and young adults. They post short videos, up to 15 seconds, often adding music to the mix. It was reportedly the most-downloaded app of 2019, with more than 700 million downloads, according to Sensor Tower.

In fact, the app topped Facebook and Facebook Messenger, at around 700 million downloads each. The No. 1 app was WhatsApp, with over 850 million downloads.

But TikTok has run into trouble with the U.S government. CNET noted the U.S. Army and Navy banned the app from government phones. Some politicians, including Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas), say it poses a national-security threat. The two worry the Chinese government could force ByteDance, which owns TikTok, to turn over U.S. user data.

To address criticism, the company formed an American advisory panel.

However, such restrictions and the dubious press open the door for Google-owned YouTube.