YouTube, the world’s largest video platform, aims to change the dislike feature to protect content creators from “dislike mobs.”
Dislike mobs are known as campaigns in which participating users bomb a certain Youtube video with dislikes. These dislikes can have several negative effects on content creators. The first is that after users see that a video has too many dislikes, they may decide not to watch the video without even looking at the video’s content or message. Another is that videos that have dislikes more than likes are less likely to be recommended to users by the YouTube algorithm.
Youtube is no stranger to users weaponizing the dislike button. For example, as a result of a dislike campaign, YouTube Rewind 2018, where YouTube summarized what was happening on the platform for a year, became the platform’s most disliked video with 19 million dislikes.
Trying to prevent the dislike button from being used as a bullying tool, yesterday YouTube announced that it will test a few designs that will hide the number of dislikes in videos on its official Twitter account.
👍👎 In response to creator feedback around well-being and targeted dislike campaigns, we’re testing a few new designs that don’t show the public dislike count. If you’re part of this small experiment, you might spot one of these designs in the coming weeks (example below!). pic.twitter.com/aemrIcnrbx
— YouTube (@YouTube) March 30, 2021
As noted by YouTube, the design shows how many likes the videos have received, but not how many users disliked them. While it is still possible for users to dislike a video, dislike numbers will only be visible to content creators through YouTube Studio.
As for other YouTube designs, we don’t have any clues at the moment. However, the company notified YouTube’s users who can now use this feature that they may encounter new designs in the coming weeks.
It is also worth mentioning that some users are concerned about what the removal of the dislike button means for free speech. Stating that the like and dislike buttons are important for users to judge what content they want to see, some users think that removing the dislike button would be a big mistake.
Not showing dislikes is supposed to make targeted dislikes disappear? Dislikes is one of the best forms of feedback, useful for creator, viewer, and algorithms alike. Not showing a dislike count publicly is in my eyes one of the worst decisions possible.
— Parwes ΔΔΔ (@parwesplayz1) March 30, 2021
Do you think hiding dislike numbers from users violates the freedom of speech or is it necessary to curb hate and intolerance? Share your thoughts in the comments below and don’t forget to follow us on social media for the latest news!