YouTube’s fullscreen comments section is here to ruin everyone’s day

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The YouTube comments section often is a special kind of hell spewing toxicity, and Google’s half-hearted attempts to make it a more pleasant place aren’t helping much. Following a recent redesign of how comments are displayed in the Android app, Google has now silently added the option to read them in fullscreen mode, too — the one place previously safe from having to interact with your fellow internet users.

In fullscreen, comments appear in a sliding panel next to a minimized version of your video, making it possible to stay entertained with content from your favorite creators and want to rip your hair out at the same time. Multitasking! (Do note that the comments section only pops up when you first enter it in horizontal mode, though — it looks like YouTube won’t open it proactively without your explicit interaction.)

This new view for comments in fullscreen mode popped up in limited testing back in June 2021, with a few users on Twitter and Reddit having caught a glimpse of a sliding panel for user replies. It looks like the feature has now rolled out much more widely, and it’s possibly available for everyone now.

In a previous iteration of the feature (as pictured above), users could hide the comments panel from view by swiping down from the top of the banner. Once swiped away, the video returned to its usual size. However, it looks like this option has been removed for many, with users now having to hit the little x in the top right corner. It’s possible that the gesture interferes too much with the swipe-down-to-exit-fullscreen shortcut.

It’s long been possible to watch a video and check the comments simultaneously on your phone, but only if you sticked to portrait mode. With this change available for most if not all users, the visibility of the YouTube community on mobile devices is now greatly expanded — for better or worse.

  • Thanks:
  • Edwin,
  • Moshe,
  • and Nick

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