YouTube will stop showing dislikes on videos

The news: The video-hosting company announced on Wednesday morning that dislikes on YouTube videos will no longer be public.

  • While the dislike button while stay below videos, the count will no longer be publicly available…only video creators will be able to see the exact number in their analytics dashboard
  • “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 behavior” YouTube says
  • YouTube says this change begins to gradually roll out today

Our take: Making videos on YouTube is my job. And I see where the company is coming from today. Online harassment is a major problem and the dislike button is gasoline on an already burning fire in many cases. But the like/dislike ratio is also an incredibly important way to hold creators accountable…and that metric will be hidden now.

I think a much better solution would be to allow creators to choose whether or not they would like to show the dislike count on their videos. This helps with targeted harassment (because if you do notice yourself being targeted, then you have the control to hide that from public view) while also allowing creators to decide what is best for their audience. I hope we see a change like this from YouTube, or at least some way to opt-in to public dislikes.