To protect its creators, YouTube is hiding the "dislike count" on all videos
Back in 2019, we told you that YouTube was trying to prevent "dislike mobs" from voting down certain clips in order to manipulate the algorithm so that certain videos are viewed fewer times than they might have been seen otherwise. The mobs continue pressing away on the thumbs down button for reasons that have nothing to do with the content of a particular video; their behavior might be due to bad feelings toward a person in the video, or the company that the video promotes.
Starting today, YouTube is no longer making the number of dislikes on a video available for everyone to see
Today, according to TechCrunch, YouTube announced that it is making the "dislike count" on videos private across all YouTube platforms. This should make YouTube video creators less likely to be harassed while also reducing the number of "dislike mobs" attacking a video to reduce the number of views it will receive. YouTube did point out that it is not removing the dislike button from videos and is merely preventing the public from reading the number of dislikes that a video has received.
As of this evening, the dislike count still appeared on the iOS version of YouTube
Content creators will still be able to view the number of dislikes that one of their videos has received in YouTube Studio right next to other analytics that reveals information about the popularity of certain videos on the platform. Earlier this year YouTube ran an experiment to determine whether hiding the dislike button reduced attacks from "dislike mobs" and also reduced creator harassment.
Not all uses of publicly seen dislike votes are negative. A large tally of such presses could indicate to users that a particular video is clickbait. YouTube had been working on a replacement design for the dislike count including the current image which replaces the count showing the number of dislikes underneath the thumbs down button. Instead of seeing that number, underneath the thumbs down icon the word "Dislike" appears.
For similar reasons dealing with the mental health conditions of Instagram users, a couple of years ago that platform tested the removal of the "Like" button. This was done to lessen users' emphasis on collecting "Likes" instead of focusing on the content of messages. Instagram and its corporate parent Facebook ended up giving back to users the decision whether or they want to hide the "Like" button.
YouTube is looking to protect its creators by hiding the "dislike count"
YouTube has told TechCrunch that its decision to remove the "dislike count" has nothing to do with any changes forced on them by a regulatory agency. The move was made by YouTube to protect its creators. Thanks to competition from short-form video platform TikTok, YouTube feels compelled to protect its creators and started a $100 million creator fund to give its own short-form video platform a good start.
In a statement, YouTube said, "We are proactively making this change because YouTube has a responsibility to protect creators, especially smaller creators, from harassment and dislike attacks," Over the last few years, lawmakers have tried to create legislation that would protect minors from social media platforms that could damage their mental health. Besides minors' mental health issues, lawmakers have also battled over ad targeting, privacy, algorithmic boosting of misinformation, and more.
To protect users in the 13 to 17 age bracket, YouTube has created privacy features and reduced the ability of creators to profit from content that is considered harmful to kids. The changes being made to the dislike count will start showing up today across all of YouTube's platforms. This means that the "dislike count" will disappear from YouTube apps running on mobile devices and from the desktop YouTube website.
However, as of 6 p.m. ET, the "dislike count" continued to appear on the YouTube app installed on our iPhone 11 Pro Max.