Dislikes and likes are the fuel that feeds social media and content creation. Most platforms use the idea of likes and dislikes to help users find content that others find either good or bad. Twitter is one of the exceptions to this rule as they only have a like button, but there is always the “ratio” metric that can be used to see how unpopular a Tweet is.
YouTube has long used likes and dislikes but has recently decided that it will remove dislikes from being seen on its platform. The company believes that removing them from being seen will help content creators in the long run. Here is part of their statement concerning dislikes:
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.
Now, YouTube co-founder Jawed Karim has come out against the company’s choice to go down this path. Karim believes that dislikes are an essential feature for the platform, and removing its visibility will lead to the platform’s decline.
Karim, now 42, founded YouTube with Chad Hurley and Steve Chen in February 2005, but it was sold to Google less than two years later.
‘Why would YouTube make this universally disliked change?’ says Karim in the updated description. ‘There is a reason, but it’s not a good one, and not one that will be publicly disclosed.
‘The ability to easily and quickly identify bad content is an essential feature of a user-generated content platform. Why? Because not all user-generated content is good.’
What do you think? Is YouTube choice the right one? Or should the dislike count remain visible to all?