YouTube is discontinuing its private messaging feature on September 18th. This announcement came through a support post, and the company said it made the decision after choosing to focus its attention on public conversations like the Stories feature it launched last year.
YouTube’s private messaging feature was launched back in August 2017, meaning it will have been live on the service for just over two years before being discontinued. This is a feature that allowed users to share videos and other messages with each other.
Users were allowed to share clips with their contacts, chat with them, and even start group conversations with up to 30 people via YouTube Messages. The feature first launched within YouTube’s mobile apps and eventually made its way to the web as well.
“We’re constantly reevaluating our priorities and have decided to discontinue YouTube’s native direct messaging feature while we focus on improving public conversations,” explained a YouTube employee in the service’s help section.
As much as the private messaging feature was seen as one way for the company to fight back against Snapchat and Instagram, those efforts have recently been more focused on public sharing. This could be what contributed to YouTube introducing its own Stories format.
Nonetheless, as shown by TechCrunch, the choice likely developed because the feature wasn’t as well-utilized as YouTube hoped it would be. This makes sense as there are already too many messaging apps in existence posing strong competition to the YouTube messaging feature.
Agreeably, this makes it hard for the YouTube direct message feature to get a wide reach. Another possibility of the discontinuation could be that the feature was largely being used by kids who couldn’t be active on other platforms due to the parental bans on them.
However, Google hasn’t officially released any details surrounding its decision but it appears that the change hasn’t been well received by some users. Questions are being raised as to why YouTube keeps removing its useful features and comments that the shutdown of private messaging is a bad idea also came up.
Other features that YouTube got rid of in the past include the video editor, star ratings, private channels, video reactions, video responses, featured content, et al.