Maybe I’d feel differently if I were a YouTuber myself, but I kind of like looking at the dislike count on a video. When a game publisher posts a really lousy announcement or some rando has a really bad take, the like/dislike ratio shows you what people think of it without having to venture into the radioactive no man’s land that is the comments section. Apparently, though, some YouTubers don’t like being able to see people giving them the thumbs down, so YouTube is now considering doing away with the feature entirely.
A couple of days ago, YouTube posted an announcement to their official Twitter that they are experimenting with removing dislike numbers from videos. It’s only a test, so this isn’t affecting all of YouTube just yet.
“In response to creator feedback around well-being and targeted dislike campaigns, we’re testing a few new designs that don’t show the public dislike count,” the announcement read. “If you’re part of this small experiment, you might spot one of these designs in the coming weeks.”
The example their tweet included featured a typical YouTube bar with like and dislike buttons, but only the like button featured a number below it, while the dislike button just says “dislike.” This doesn’t mean YouTubers won’t receive any negative feedback; they’ll still be able to see dislikes on their video’s back-end, YouTube Studio. YouTube’s goal is to mitigate any potential negatives that may arise from having the dislikes publicly displayed.
In response to YouTube’s announcement, multiple Twitter users have expressed concerns that hiding dislike numbers could promote sub-par content.
I feel this is just an excuse for creators to avoid negative criticism on their videos. Because how would you differentiate a dislike campaign from viewers legitimately disliking content? It’s like a business deleting negative reviews in order to sway public opinion.
— Vanessa (Gothix) (@gothixTV) March 30, 2021
Nobody actually wants this, except those creators whose content is so bad that they need to hide the amount of dislikes they get on their videos.
You’re actively promoting bad content by doing this.
— Cynical Reviews (@Cynical_CJ) March 30, 2021
It is not currently known how long YouTube’s experiment will last, or even if they will implement this change permanently.