26 October 2021
YouTube has announced that it will stop showing dislike counts on videos publically. The announcement was made through a post on the official blog of the company. It says that the step has been taken to reduce personal attacks and online harassment on content creators, especially the smaller ones.
The intention behind the decision seems to be genuine but it is surely a controversial one. The number of likes and dislikes on a video is helpful in deciding whether one should watch a particular video. For example, if a video has significantly higher dislikes than the number of likes, then it is most likely a video not worth your time.
In the announcement post, YouTube said,
."And earlier this year, we experimented with the dislike button to see whether or not changes could help better protect our creators from harassment, and reduce dislike attacks — where people work to drive up the number of dislikes on a creator’s videos. As part of this experiment, viewers could still see and use the dislike button. But because the count was not visible to them, we found that they were less likely to target a video’s dislike button to drive up the count."
The experiment specifically benefitted small and new creators. They have been found to be at the receiving end of online bullying and attacks more often than bigger and well-known ones. YouTube found that viewers were disliking their videos less often when the count was hidden as compared to when it was publically visible.
As far as creators are concerned, YouTube's dislike count will continue to be accessible to them. This will allow creators to gauge user responses to their videos so that they can make necessary changes.