News & Events, Tech

YouTube is now hiding dislikes

An interesting experiment.

words by: Sahar Khraibani
Jan 3, 2022

In an interesting twist, YouTube has decided to hide dislikes on videos. The dislike button will remain, but the precise analytics will be visible only to the video’s producer.


Why the change?

YouTube said in a blog post that it would begin making dislike numbers on videos private. This adjustment, according to the Google-owned corporation, is part of a larger effort to make YouTube more inclusive by removing abuse and hate.


YouTube has also changed several of its video monetization regulations, particularly in the area of low-quality, highly commercial content aimed at children. Executives from YouTube, TikTok, and SnapChat were summoned before the Senate in late October to explain their efforts to safeguard underage users from damage on their services.


In their statement, the company explained the experiment further:

“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 behavior1. 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.”


The dislike button will remain in place, allowing viewers to continue to dislike videos in order to fine-tune YouTube’s recommendation algorithm and producers may see their exact dislike counts on YouTube Studio’s engagement page. Matt Koval, YouTube’s creator liaison, explained: “Overall, if the count isn’t accessible to the public, it’s lot less likely to cause stress and shame.”


YouTube maintains that smaller producers and those just getting started have been the target of such attacks in the past, rebutting comments on its Twitter post that this change will primarily benefit large brands and companies. In the video, Koval sarcastically dismissed comments mocking the 2018 YouTube Rewind for becoming the most disliked video on the platform.


Instagram, which is owned by Meta, altered its capabilities earlier this year to allow users to hide their public “like” numbers in a similar approach. Instagram stated that they believed this would make some people’s time on the platform more enjoyable. They also tried this several years ago. However, after discovering that some users use like counts to get a sense of what’s hot or popular, they made it an option rather than forcing it on everyone.


In case you missed it, YouTube launched a TikTok competitor, YouTube Shorts back in March 2021.


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