The YouTube dislike button and like button are heavily used for users to rate videos on the platform. The like button hasn’t seen much controversy, but the dislike button has. This has led YouTube to assess the need for a dislike button, and today they announced that the button would remain, but the dislike count would be private.
This move is already creating a firestorm on social media and the YouTube platform; here’s what the company’s press release and video release had to say on the matter:
At YouTube, we strive to be a place where creators of all sizes and backgrounds can find and share their voice. To ensure that YouTube promotes respectful interactions between viewers and creators, we introduced several features and policies to improve their experience. And earlier this year, we experimented with the dislike button to see whether or not changes could help better protect our creators from harassment, and reduce dislike attacks — where people work to drive up the number of dislikes on a creator’s videos.
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.
Based on what we learned, we’re making the dislike counts private across YouTube, but the dislike button is not going away. This change will start gradually rolling out today.
Creators will still be able to find their exact dislike counts in YouTube Studio, along with other existing metrics, if they would like to understand how their content is performing.
Viewers can still dislike videos to tune their recommendations and privately share feedback with creators.