An eyebrow-raising proposition
YouTube has recently announced that it’s currently testing a new feature that will hide the dislike tally on its videos. In a press release, the update is apparently a response to creators claiming that the dislike tally impacts their wellbeing. Another concern is the incidents of targeted downvoting campaigns by Internet mobs on creator videos.
According to YouTube, the new look aims to ‘balance improving the creator experience, while still making sure viewer feedback is accounted for and shared with the creator.’
But while they may be hidden from public view, dislikes won’t completely lose their role on the platform. Creators can still see the number of likes and dislikes in YouTube Studio, while viewers will have their video recommendations fine-tuned according to their reactions.
👍👎 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. If you're part of this small experiment, you might spot one of these designs in the coming weeks (example below!). pic.twitter.com/aemrIcnrbx
— YouTube (@YouTube) March 30, 2021
However, YouTube’s plan has been met with some hostility. For one, while dislikes can be abused, they could also be an indicator of whether a piece of content is clickbait, bloated, a scam, or misleading.
But for now, nothing is set in stone yet. Per The Verge, YouTube has long been experimenting on how to address dislikes, with plans to either include an extra step in leaving downvotes, hide likes as well, or remove the like and dislike buttons entirely.