After initially teasing it back in March, YouTube is finally removing the dislike counter from videos on its site. The dislike button itself will remain, however, viewers will no longer be able to see whether or not a video their viewing is unpopular.
YouTube had initially tested the idea out earlier in the year. The seemingly positive reception to this test led them to fully implement the feature.
“At YouTube, we strive to be a place where creators of all sizes and backgrounds can find and share their voice. To ensure that YouTube promotes respectful interactions between viewers and creators, we introduced several features and policies to improve their experience,” reads a statement on the official YouTube Blog. “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.”
According to YouTube, because the dislike count was no longer visible to them, viewers 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,” the blog post states. “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 removing the dislike counter is seen as helping out smaller creators who have suffered from dislike attacks, protecting their channels from the adverse results newcomers seeing heavily disliked videos can produce. (Read: Google is testing new Carousel feature for TikTok and Instagram videos)
That said, this change will likely also help out large corporations whose videos can be disliked because consumers feel that they’ve done something wrong. This effectively defangs mass-dislike campaigns, which have become one form of protest for many fans and consumers.
The dislike count will still be available to creators behind the scenes, and “viewers can still dislike videos to tune their recommendations and privately share feedback with creators,” according to YouTube. The changes are expected to go into effect today.
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