YouTube has announced plans to hide the dislike count for videos, and is now slowly rolling out the change across its platform.
A dislike button will still be shown to all, and a channel owner will still be able to privately view the number of dislikes on a particular video. The only change is that the count will no longer be public.
The move follows an increasing number of instances where the dislike count or like-to-dislike ratio was weaponised by viewers, and after experimentation by YouTube showed the hiding of the dislike number “showed a reduction in dislike attacking behaviour”.
Predictably, YouTube’s above announcement video on the change currently has 7.3k likes and 25k dislikes.
Video game fans have, over the years, made headlines by hammering that dislike button more than most. Last May’s Xbox Series X “gameplay” reveal went down badly, for example, and who can forget the record-setting 3.5m dislikes awarded to the reveal trailer for Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare? (Not Activision, for sure.)
More recently, Nintendo fans voted with their fingers by thumbing down the Switch Online + Expansion Pack trailer in their droves, while Grand Theft Auto 5’s PlayStation Showcase trailer also didn’t go down well.
“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,” YouTube said. “Viewers can still dislike videos to tune their recommendations and privately share feedback with creators.
“We heard during the experiment that some of you have used the public dislike count to help 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.
“We want to create an inclusive and respectful environment where creators have the opportunity to succeed and feel safe to express themselves. This is just one of many steps we are taking to continue to protect creators from harassment. Our work is not done, and we’ll continue to invest here.”