YouTube is currently the second-most-used platform in the world, and it has introduced a number of beneficial updates recently, such as offering translation options in the comments section of a YouTube video and introducing a “Media Literacy” campaign that empowers users to prevent misinformation. However, a recent update that hides the dislike button count has not gone down well with the creative community.
An announcement on the official YouTube blog has revealed the company would be making dislike counts private across its platform. While the creators will be able to see dislike counts, users will not. YouTube’s justification for this is that it’s seeking to reduce harassment of content creators, irrespective of their reach. YouTube revealed that it conducted an experiment earlier this year where the dislike button was available to viewers, but the dislike count was hidden. Because the count was hidden, it found that viewers or commenters were less likely to leave a dislike and engage in targeted harassment, which tends to occur at a higher proportion on smaller channels.
The dislike button count has only been made private, meaning that the button itself has not gone away. Creators are still able to view their exact dislike counts in YouTube Studio. And viewers can currently still like or dislike a video to tailor content to their needs. However, many users are not happy with the changes. Considering that approximately 720,000 hours of content are uploaded to the site every day, the dislike button helps users to distinguish between what is worth watching and what is not. There are also content creators who purposely lure viewers with faulty thumbnails, inappropriate content, or false titles, and users could save several minutes of their time by taking a look at the like-dislike ratio.
In fact, YouTube’s own co-founder Jawed Karim has criticized the decision in the description of the first-ever YouTube video stating that “…there exists not a single YouTube Creator who thinks removing dislikes is a good idea — for YouTube or for creators”. Here’s hoping that the company will either retract or at least bring some balance to these changes.