The number of dislikes on a video will no longer be visible to users on YouTube, the company said.
The website will gradually change over to the new system. Researchers temporarily removed dislikes on videos in early 2021 in an experiment.
According to the company’s creator liaison, Matt Koval, while the dislike button will remain available, only video producers will be able to read this input. He said that the adjustment is intended to decrease ‘dislike attacks’, in which users try to intentionally inflate the number of dislikes on a creator’s videos.
‘It’s usually just because they don’t like the creator or what they stand for. That’s a big problem when half of YouTube’s mission is to give everyone a voice’, Koval said.
The news received a mixed reception from YouTube viewers, with the video receiving over 6000 likes and 13,000 dislikes. The elimination of the dislike count was criticised by several users as limiting their ability to have a voice. Others stated that they use the count to judge whether or not a video is worthwhile to watch.
Koval said they did detect a decline in dislike assaults when researchers looked at the findings of the experiment done earlier this year. ‘It’s much less likely to cause stress and embarrassment if the count isn’t visible to the public. This is about protecting all creators and making sure they have a chance to succeed and feel safe in doing so’, he added.
YouTube isn’t the first social media outlet to try hiding user input from the general public. In May this year, Facebook and Instagram revealed that users have the option to hide the number of likes on their own and others’ posts.