YouTube users will no longer be able to see how many dislikes a video has, a step the platform says it's taking to reduce harassment against creators.
YouTube announced Wednesday it will make the dislike counter on videos private across the site, meaning the number of dislikes a video has will only be viewable by its creator. The company said it experimented with taking this step earlier this year in an attempt to "better protect our creators from harassment, and reduce dislike attacks." The result of this experiment, YouTube said in a blog post, was that people were "less likely to target a video's dislike button to drive up the count" if they couldn't see this count.
YouTube''s Matt Koval in an announcement video said the move was being implented in response to the "big problem" of viewers "targeting a video's dislike button to drive up the count" because "they don't like the creator or what they stand for." Koval noted that creators will still be able to see the number of dislikes their videos have, but only if they visit a private analytics tab. "Overall, it's much less likely to cause stress and embarrassment if the count isn't visible to the public," Koval said. The dislike button itself will remain on YouTube and will still affect recommendations.
Koval added that he thinks users will "get used to it pretty quickly," and the announcement blog said the change will roll out "gradually" beginning today. The move was quickly celebrated by some, while others took the comments section of the announcement video itself to argue for the dislike counter's utility. "Public dislikes are important to see for a number of reasons," one user commented. "This is kinda disappointing."