YouTube announced that starting today, it will hide public dislike counts on videos across its website. The company claims that this change will keep smaller creators safer from harassment and being disliked into oblivion. The dislike button will still be there, but only the creator will be able to view the count privately.
YouTube said that hiding the dislike count will “promote respectful interactions between viewers and creators.” This change will be gradual and is touted to be a big move for YouTube. Presently, viewers can see the like-to-dislike ratio for any video, and it may steer their decision to continue watching or not and to like or dislike the content. With the dislike count hidden, the website hopes to seal off an avenue for harassment.
YouTube began testing the feature in March. It said that when it tried hiding dislikes, people were less likely to use the button and attack the creator, commenting, “I just came here to dislike the video.” It also believed that disliking a video seemed less satisfying when viewers didn’t see the dislike count climb. However, abusive behavior may continue because creators will still see dislike numbers for their videos via YouTube Studio. The platform hopes that this will be a true reflection of the dislikes, and creators would interpret it as feedback from well-wishers.
Interestingly, hiding the dislike count could help veil an embarrassment for YouTube: its Rewind from 2018 that holds the distinction of being the most disliked video on the entire website. YouTube canceled annual Rewind videos after this fiasco.
At the opposite end of the spectrum, It could be argued that hiding public dislikes could lead to users watching a video that isn’t worth their while or content purely created for marketing. People have also suggested that YouTube could ask for additional info when you dislike a video or disable the dislike button until you’ve watched a certain amount of the video. That said, YouTube counts on the mental health benefits this change could bring about, especially for smaller creators.[Via YouTube]