YouTube announced it will be making the dislike counts private on YouTube. The dislike button itself will remain, but only the creator of the video will see how many dislikes a video got. This change will be rolling out gradually – starting today.
This decision by YouTube to change the way the dislike button is used was not done on a whim. It comes after an experiment with the dislike button, with the idea of seeing what happens if the number of dislikes was hidden from viewers. YouTube noted that the experiment ended on November 10, 2021.
Here is some explanation from YouTube about the change to the dislike button:
As part of an 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 behavior. 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 has made it clear that viewers can still use the dislike button. The difference is they won’t see how many other people have used it. The number of dislikes will only be viewable by the creator of the video through YouTube Studio.
YouTube also stated the following on their blog post:
We want to create an inclusive and respectful environment where creators have the opportunity to succeed and feel safe to express themselves. This is just one of many steps we are taking to continue to protect creators from harassment. Our work is not done, and we’ll continue to invest here.
As a person who puts their gameplay videos on YouTube – I am in favor of this change. It is always good when a company chooses to make an effort to prevent harassment. I’m hoping this change will make the angriest of commenters decide that using the dislike button isn’t fun anymore.
There is some evidence that removing the numbers from the dislike button works. The Verge reported: YouTube says that when it tested hiding dislike numbers, people were less likely to use the button to attack the creator – commenting “I just came here to dislike” was seemingly less satisfying when you don’t actually get to see the number go up.