YouTube will no longer display dislike counts on videos
After months of testing, YouTube will roll out a change that will make dislike counts private for videos across the platform. The dislike button isn’t being removed and will still be used to inform the recommendation algorithms, but you won’t be able to see how many people have disliked a specific video. The content creators will still be able to see the dislike count on their videos.
The Google-owned video platform has said this is to protect the content creators, as many are targeted with harassment and attacks if viewers disagree with a statement in the video, an opinion shared, or a belief held. Of course, many viewers use the like and dislike counts to make their viewing decisions when exploring new content or new channels.
According to YouTube, new and smaller creators are more often targeted by dislike campaigns and the test reduced that harassment. On paper it makes sense and will theoretically create an “inclusive and respectful” platform where creators both have a better chance to succeed and feel safe.
Theoretically, this means specific creators or videos won’t be targeted by dislike campaigns, sure, but it could materially change the way the algorithm works. Normal people making their feelings known about content will dislike fewer videos if it can’t be seen (although, YouTube hasn’t commented on this), meaning very different content may be served up. Furthermore, it could also have the opposite effect for some creators; fewer people may see their content, because users are wasting their limited time on the platform watching content they would have ignored previously when seeing the like to dislike ratios.
How this plays out remains to be seen. The reception from creators on the world’s biggest video platform is extremely mixed, with a wide variety of outtakes being shared. Of all the reactions we’ve seen from content creators, we probably agree with MKBHD most: