In an effort to protect creators from online harassment and reduce dislike attacks, YouTube will be removing the dislike count on videos from the video-sharing platform. In other words, the company will be making the public dislike count private across YouTube.
While the dislike button will still be there, the dislike count on all videos will be hidden from public view except the content creator.
This move by YouTube comes amidst ongoing concern about how social media and video platforms – such as YouTube – are being used to unfairly target and attack creators (especially those with smaller channels) with dislike counts. To ensure respectful interactions between viewers and creators, YouTube has decided to hide the dislike counts.
“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,” The YouTube Team wrote in a blog post on Wednesday.
“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. In short, our experiment data showed a reduction in dislike attacking behavior. We also heard directly from smaller creators and those just getting started that they are unfairly targeted by this behavior — and our experiment confirmed that this does occur at a higher proportion on smaller channels.”
YouTube said that creators will still be able to find their exact dislike counts in YouTube Studio, along with other existing metrics, if they would like to understand how their content is performing. The number of dislikes on a video will only be available to creators in Studio and not visible to the public on the video’s page.
Further, viewers can still dislike videos to tune their recommendations and privately share feedback with creators. The only change is that the viewers won’t be able to view the number of dislikes on the video.
“We heard during the experiment that some of you have used the public dislike count to help decide whether or not to watch a video. We know that you might not agree with this decision, but we believe that this is the right thing to do for the platform,” the company adds.
“We want to create an inclusive and respectful environment where creators have the opportunity to succeed and feel safe to express themselves. This is just one of many steps we are taking to continue to protect creators from harassment. Our work is not done, and we’ll continue to invest here,” it concluded.
Starting Wednesday, YouTube has gradually begun rolling out the change.