YouTube hides ‘dislike’ count to try and stop harassment – but will keep the button

Andrew Griffin
Thursday 11 November 2021 10:42

YouTube has removed a feature that showed how many people had disliked a video, in an attempt to stop harassment.

The change has been added in large part to reduce “dislike attacks”, where groups of people work together to try and drive the number of dislike as high as possible.

The “dislike” button was launched as an attempt to do exactly what it sounds like: give people the option to give feedback on videos they thought were bad.

And it often did so in spectacular ways, such as when YouTube launched its “Rewind” video that became the most disliked video ever.

But the site also said it was being used to harass particular creators.

Now YouTube has said that it will keep an experimental change that removed the count of how many times a certain video has been downvoted. The test showed that removing it did reduce “dislike attacking” as well as indicating that it tends to occur more on smaller channels.

The dislike button itself will not be removed, and it will still feed into YouTube’s recommendation algorithm. Creators will be able to see how many dislikes their videos have received, privately, in the tools that YouTube offers behind the scenes.

It noted that some users had said they used the dislike count to decide whether or not to watch a video. “We know that you might not agree with this decision, but we believe that this is the right thing to do for the platform,” it said.

The change is rolling out gradually now.

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