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Why is YouTube removing the dislike count from video descriptions?



YouTube is making its dislike count private in order to discourage harassment. The button will remain visible, but viewers will not be able to see how many people have clicked on it.


In July 2021, the Google-owned platform conducted an experiment in which viewers had access to the dislike button but were not told how many disliked it. This decision followed the experiment. According to a blog post published on Nov. 10 by YouTube, the data showed a decrease in "dislike attacking behavior." Smaller creators and those just getting started have also expressed concern that they are unfairly targeted by this behavior, which our experiment confirmed occurs at a higher rate on smaller channels. "


The ability to disable both likes and dislikes has existed for some time, but this has also meant that creators have been unable to reap the benefits of positive engagement.


Around the world, the most recent change has begun to take effect in a phased manner.


Why YouTube's dislike button has remained on the site


In order to allow users to fine-tune their preferences and receive relevant recommendations, the dislike button has been kept in place. Moreover, YouTube Studio continues to provide content creators with access to their dislike counts in order to assess the performance of their content. These metrics will be removed from public view, according to YouTube, in order to "create an inclusive and respectful environment where creators have the opportunity to succeed and feel confident in expressing themselves. "


The concept of obscuring symbols that convey user sentiment is not exclusive to YouTube, and it has been used elsewhere. For example, Facebook and Instagram experimented with hiding likes for a year starting in April 2019 in order to improve users' psychological well-being. After discovering that removing likes did not relieve the pressure on users, the Meta-owned apps have implemented a new feature that allows users to choose whether or not their likes are publicly displayed.


Is YouTube's removal of dislike counts a deliberate decision or a result of chance?


Nonetheless, not everyone shares YouTube's vision of a utopian internet as a utopian internet. The irony is that YouTube's own video announcing the switch to dislikes had only 10,000 likes and more than 52,000 dislikes at the time of publication, according to the site.


Some claim that YouTube removed the feature out of spite after its own 2018 Rewind video became the most disliked video on the platform. Another group of people expressed grave concerns about the repression of freedoms of expression and expression.


Viral content would be devoid of context if the dislike count were not present. In spite of the lack of immediate indication as to why "highly contentious videos" are so popular, it's possible that these videos will continue to garner enormous popularity. As one Twitter user put it in March, when YouTube first teased the redesign, "even more so if the comments are disabled."


User-generated content that was "suspicious, misleading, or contained outright false information" was previously identified by the metric.


Sometimes, people use dislike-bombing to express their dissatisfaction with large organizations, such as Nintendo Switch Online, which was criticized for its high price tag and buggy systems. Its video has received a total of 178,000 disapprovals to date.


Furthermore, the move may become out of date in a short period of time. According to a Twitter user, users can comment "use me as a dislike button" beneath a video and see how many people have disliked the video. An additional person questioned whether it would be truly beneficial to mental health if the creator had access to the number of dislikes they received.


What’s the alternative to removing dislike counts?


Taking down all dislikes is not "democratic," according to Tom Leung, then-Director of Project Management at YouTube, who stated in 2019 that "not all dislikes are from dislike mobs." Downvotes should be more specific, he suggested, and could be accomplished by checking the box indicating why you dislike this video.


The problem is that "that is complicated to build, complicated to collect, and more importantly, complicated to relay to the creator in analytics or Creator Studio," as he explained. YouTube, on the other hand, appears to have abandoned any such efforts, praising the practice of concealing dislikes as "the right thing to do for the platform" instead.


In general, YouTube appears to be bandaging a minor graze while grappling with more serious wounds, such as preventing radicalization, extortion, animal abuse, and child predators from using its platform to spread their messages.


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