Popular video platform YouTube is reportedly seeking to greatly expand its social features with a new section called "Backstage," where users can share photos, polls, links, text posts, and videos to anyone subscribed to their channel (via VentureBeat). According to internal sources at YouTube, Backstage will launch in the fall both on the company's mobile apps and desktop. The initial soft launch will only be for "select popular YouTube accounts" and include "limited features," however.

YouTube's social expansion is believed to be in response to the popularity of services like Facebook, Snapchat, and Twitter, which are increasingly improving their own video functionality -- particularly Facebook -- and pulling away users from sharing YouTube videos within each network. Posts shared on Backstage will curate in a reverse chronological order, and each user's content will be found next to the "Home" and "Video" tabs within a YouTuber's channel. Backstage posts will also be pushed to every subscription box, similar to any time a new video is posted, "making them highly visible to fans."

youtube logo

Backstage marks a pivotal shift for YouTube, whose sole focus on video and unsuccessful Google+ integration have left the door open for popular users to flock to competing services like Twitter and Facebook in order to better communicate with fans. By introducing new ways for users to converse, Backstage could reverse the historically one-way communication between stars and their fans. Video sharing and watching will remain the primary function of YouTube, but Backstage may help make YouTube a better place to talk about those videos, too.

It's not clear what will be initially available for the select users during Backstage's soft launch, but eventually YouTube wants to enable users to share both traditional videos and "Backstage-only" videos on the service. Although still unconfirmed, this could mean "more intimate" video-sharing abilities between users, potentially even ephemeral posts that disappear, similar to Snapchat and, now, Instagram Stories.

Down the line, the company wants to "spur new types of conversation" on the platform, allowing users to respond to Backstage posts with their own photos, videos, "and other types of comments." These response features are being referred to as "rich replies" by those close to the project. The company's goal is to keep YouTube watchers within its ecosystem to talk about videos, and not defecting to Twitter or Facebook to chat with friends, or even contact their favorite popular YouTuber. It wasn't mentioned whether Backstage would be exclusive to the company's premium paid YouTube Red subscription service or not.

The Backstage news comes at the same time of Apple's reported interest in creating its own video sharing app, with the hope of competing with existing social networks as well. YouTube's concerns undoubtedly stem from Facebook's focus on video, which began with a comment by CEO Mark Zuckerberg earlier in the year, and has expanded into MSQRD integration, an entirely new app, and the testing of autoplay videos with sound in its iOS and Android apps.

Top Rated Comments

SandboxGeneral Avatar
61 months ago
Geez, another social network? These things seem to come and go as quickly as Pokemon Go!
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
thisisnotmyname Avatar
61 months ago
Can we merge this post with the Apple social network rumor and get all the same comments out of the way at once? :p
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
thekeyring Avatar
61 months ago
But ... They *are* a video focused social network?

Next we'll be hearing how Google wants to work on a search engine
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
LordQ Avatar
61 months ago
Geez, another social network? These things seem to come and go as quickly as Pokemon Go!
Oddly, I found out that most of my friends and familty who still use these social networks spend less time engaging with the features, the users, etc. They just enter, scroll, like one or two posts, sigh (very important step) and exit to the next one.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
BeefCake 15 Avatar
61 months ago
YouTube already gets used like that kind of with people uploading rants, reactions and arguments on their channel. This will just take all that and box it in a separate category basically.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
CarlJ Avatar
61 months ago
But ... They *are* a video focused social network?

Next we'll be hearing how Google wants to work on a search engine
Shhhh! Nobody's supposed to know about Google's search engine project yet!
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

siir apple event april 20

Siri Reveals Apple Event Planned for Tuesday, April 20

Tuesday April 13, 2021 12:04 am PDT by
Siri has apparently prematurely revealed that Apple plans to hold an event on Tuesday, April 20, where the company is expected to reveal brand new iPad Pro models and possibly its long-awaited AirTags trackers. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Upon being asked "When is the next Apple Event," Siri is currently responding with, "The special event is on Tuesday, April...
apple event spring loaded

Apple's 'Spring Loaded' Event Officially Announced for Tuesday, April 20

Tuesday April 13, 2021 9:04 am PDT by
Following an overnight leak by Siri, Apple today officially announced that it will be holding a special "Spring Loaded" event on Tuesday, April 20 at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time at the Steve Jobs Theater on the Apple Park campus in Cupertino, California. As with all of Apple's 2020 events, the April 2021 event will be a digital-only gathering with no members of the media invited to attend in...
pixel watch prosser leak

Google Pixel Watch Allegedly Leaks with Circular Design, Rumored to Launch in October

Monday April 12, 2021 2:49 am PDT by
Renders of Google's first smartwatch, codenamed "Rohan," have been shared by Jon Prosser, showing that Google plans to adopt a circular design for its flagship wearable watch. Prosser shared the renders in an episode of his YouTube show "Front Page Tech," in which he claims they were made based on marketing material he had seen from a source within Google. The renders show that the Pixel...
Google maps feaure green

Google Maps App for iOS Finally Updated After Four Months

Monday April 12, 2021 10:03 am PDT by
Following the completed rollout of App Privacy labels for its App Store apps, Google today updated the Google Maps app for the first time in four months. Apple in December began requiring all new app submissions and app updates to include App Privacy labels, detailing the data that is collected by the app so consumers know what they're sharing. Google didn't begin implementing App Privacy ...
AppleTV and HomePod Feature

Bloomberg: Apple Working on New Apple TV With Integrated HomePod Speaker and FaceTime Camera

Monday April 12, 2021 3:32 am PDT by
Apple is working on a combined Apple TV with HomePod speaker that has a camera for video calls through a connected television set, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. From the report: The company is working on a product that would combine an Apple TV set-top box with a HomePod speaker and include a camera for video conferencing through a connected TV and other smart-home functions,...
samsung experience 1

Samsung's 'iTest' Lets You Try a Galaxy Device on Your iPhone

Thursday April 8, 2021 12:42 pm PDT by
Samsung has launched "iTest," an interactive website experience that's designed to allow iPhone users to test out Android on a Galaxy device, or "sample the other side," as Samsung puts it. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. The iTest website is being advertised in New Zealand, according to a MacRumors reader who came across the feature. Visiting the iTest website on...
epic iap feature 3

Tim Cook Says App Store Would Become a 'Flea Market' if Third-Party Payment Systems Were Allowed

Monday April 12, 2021 9:41 am PDT by
In a recent interview with the Toronto Star, Apple CEO Tim Cook spoke about a wide variety of topics, ranging from App Tracking Transparency to Apple's ongoing legal battle over App Store policies with Fortnite creator Epic Games. Notably, Cook said that Epic Games' desire for Apple to let developers offer their own payment systems in apps "would make the App Store a flea market":At the...
tim cook toronto star

Tim Cook Says Apple is 'Not Against Digital Advertising' Ahead of iOS 14.5 Launch With App Tracking Transparency

Monday April 12, 2021 8:00 am PDT by
Starting with iOS 14.5, iPadOS 14.5, and tvOS 14.5, Apple will be requiring apps to receive a user's permission to track their activity for targeted advertising purposes, as part of a privacy measure known as App Tracking Transparency. Ahead of App Tracking Transparency being enforced, Apple CEO Tim Cook has participated in a privacy-focused interview with the Toronto Star, telling the...
a13 bionic mockup

Apple Made Sudden Security Changes to its Chips in Fall 2020

Monday April 12, 2021 8:15 am PDT by
Apple made unusual mid-production hardware changes to the A12, A13, and S5 processors in its devices in the fall of 2020 to update the Secure Storage Component, according to Apple Support documents. According to an Apple Support page, spotted by Twitter user Andrew Pantyukhin, Apple changed the Secure Enclave in a number of products in the fall of 2020:Note: A12, A13, S4, and S5 products...
HomePod G4 Feature

Bloomberg: Future HomePod May Feature iPad Connected Via Robotic Arm to Track Users Around The Room During FaceTime Calls

Monday April 12, 2021 3:50 am PDT by
In a report outlining a possible Apple TV with a combined HomePod and camera, Bloomberg's Mark Gurman says that Apple is exploring a future high-end HomePod speaker that could include an iPad connected via a robotic arm that tracks and follows users around a room. From the report: The Cupertino, California-based technology giant, is also mulling the launch of a high-end speaker with a touch ...