Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority
- YouTube is making dislike counts private across all videos on the platform.
- Users can still click the dislike button on YouTube videos, but the dislike counts will no longer be shown.
- The change will start rolling out today.
YouTube is making a major change to the way users interact with its service. Starting today, dislike counts will no longer be visible to viewers on YouTube. To be clear, the dislike button is not going away — users can still dislike any YouTube video they come into contact with — but the counts will remain private to the creator of the YouTube video.
YouTube cites “dislike attacks” and other forms of harassment as the driving reason behind this change. If a group of people dislikes a video for any particular reason, they can “target” the dislike button to drive numbers up as much as possible.
YouTube has been experimenting with ways to help protect creators from this type of thing since March of this year. The company experimented with hiding dislike numbers from the public eye, which resulted in fewer dislikes and dislike attacks overall as viewers were less likely to target the button if they didn’t see the number. This change will also help protect smaller YouTube creators, which, on average, are affected by high dislike numbers more so than well-established channels.
YouTube creators can still see the exact amount of dislikes on a video in YouTube Studio. And viewers are still encouraged to use the dislike button, as it helps YouTube’s algorithms fine-tune recommendations for you. The only thing that’s changing here is that the dislike numbers will be hidden from the public.
Removing dislike counts from the public will no doubt help curb online harassment. However, this decision will have other far-reaching implications across the platform. Viewers often use the dislike button to gauge whether or not to watch a video or whether the information in the video is accurate or not. Now that dislike counts are hidden, that way of judging a good video from a bad video no longer exists. To those who disagree with YouTube’s decision on the matter, YouTube says, “We know that you might not agree with this decision, but we believe that this is the right thing to do for the platform.”
YouTube itself has been on the receiving end of dislike attacks. The company’s YouTube Rewind 2018 video is currently the most disliked video on the platform, which is currently sitting at 19 million dislikes. Earlier this year, YouTube put the kibosh on its Rewind series for good, claiming the platform is too big to be encapsulated in one single YouTube video series.