YouTube To Hide Dislikes As It Moves To Protect Creators From Hate Campaigns

YouTube To Hide Dislikes As It Moves To Protect Creators From Hate Campaigns

YouTube is making its longstanding dislike button private.

YouTube has today confirmed via a post on its official blog that the company will remove the dislike counter across all of its videos. The post goes into the rationale for the counter’s removal, but the short version is that it has been repeatedly used as a cudgel by audiences that disagree with a particular view or creator.

YouTube experimented with removing the dislike count earlier this year to see if hiding the number of dislikes would reduce the occurrence of targeted dislike campaigns. It did.

The internal research showed that, though the dislike button is useful in certain situations, it has become a way to brigade a creator or specific video. It transforms likes and dislikes into an awful game, and the numbers become a scoreboard.

This is a tactic similar to that of review bombing on aggregate sites like Metacritic or Rotten Tomatoes. On those sites, users with an axe to grind will deliberately tank a title’s overall score by overrunning its page with negative reviews.

On YouTube, the barrage of dislikes tells the algorithm that the video is of low quality and suppresses its reach.

In this way, the most basic tools social media platforms use to define content quality — the upvote and the downvote — have been weaponised in a way the platform owners did not expect.

Another interesting data point from YouTube’s research was that people didn’t seem to be using the like and dislike count as a metric for quality anyway. Indeed, the data suggested that people were still watching whether they could see the dislike counter or not.

So YouTube is sweeping it out of the way.

Creators will still be able to see the dislike counter on the Studio Analytics page under the Engagement tab, but the number will no longer be user-facing. Users will still be able to use the dislike button to tell the algorithm what they like and what they don’t as normal.

YouTube has framed the decision as a way to better protect creators on its platform from harassment and bullying.

The change has already begun rolling out across the platform and may take some time before it is fully implemented.

Comments

  • This is NOT about protecting creators from hate campaigns.

    It’s about protecting big companies and brands from having their videos disliked into oblivion whenever they do something shitty.

    • Source? Sure it could be, or it could be both. Maybe it is more about accepting that pathetic online toxicity of downvoting campaigns need to be reigned in.

      Im confused why do you think it has to be one but not the other? Can choices be made for various reasons? Or is the only vlid explanation is the most conspiratorial, in your eyes?

      • It’s pretty easy to tell it’s not about protecting people from hate campaigns when those people can STILL SEE THE DISLIKES on their channels.

        And spare us your ‘source?’ nonsense until you start sourcing all your own comments and claims around here.

      • You could already do that previously, Creators could hide the like and dislike numbers on the video.

        How dense are you?

    • No, it’s about reducing toxicity on the platform. Pretty much how the removal of likes/dislikes right here has also significantly reduced toxicity in the comments section.

      Some people are never going to be convinced that every single decision taken anywhere is a big conspiracy against them. Sometimes, however, a cigar is just a cigar.

      • Reduced toxicity? One would argue it hasnt changed at all =P

        The only change that actually made a real difference is the removal of reply notifications.

        This basically means one has to actively check any replies to people have replied to to find out if there has been any response. Which means lower engagement since checking requires effort.

        The discussions themselves have not changed nor the entrenched views followed with the inevitable baiting and moral high ground arguments

        • My observation is that even the culture war articles have significantly smaller comments sections nowadays.

          It’s true that having no reply notifications has also contributed to this, but there’s no question that thumb counts were regularly commented on as if they somehow validated (or invalidated) particular opinions as representing some kind of democratic expression of user opinions.

          It’s also hard to imagine that people posting comments with half a dozen likes weren’t being incentivised to double down on their positions while the peanut gallery was cheering on their shtick.

    • I agree because the creators will still see it, therefore the creators would still feel the effects of any targetting by groups. Alot of youtube and googles decisions get read into that it’s about X or Y, but to me they always seem to be about $

      • I’m not sure a change like this is about protecting creators’ feelings… to them knowing audience sentiment is valuable information, positive or negative. The point is to reduce hate campaigns, and all the research suggests this is an effective way. So in that sense, this is a really positive move, because it doesn’t in any way stop an individual from expressing their dislike for something, it just stops communities from being built on hatred.

  • I think if a video has comments disabled, the dislike MUST be shown.

    And they need to bring back the option to block creators… seriously no matter how many times I hit DO NOT RECOMMEND, it keeps recommending the same garbage creators.

    If anything, the corporations pushing for this change are probably going to get burned on social media harder.

  • Wait.. didn’t YT try this a while back already and the consensus between users and content creators was a big fat GTFO we dont need this?

  • This only benefits scammy YouTubers who relied on people not finding out their content is shit. Seriously all those how-to content farms are gonna love this shit because it means they can push their low-quality content on people and no one will see that its shit content without actually watching it and giving them revenue.

    Seriously if you are that mentally damaged that seeing a bunch of dislikes on your video harms you, you don’t need coddling by youtube, You need to quit youtube and get mental help.

    • I don’t know, if someone can’t tell a good video from a bad based on a click-bait title, crap thumbnail or desperate need to trash whatever the cool thing of the day is, maybe they shouldn’t be on YouTube.

      Or people can just watch something, even if they don’t like it and make up their own mind? Imagine only watching things you like and trusting the value of a piece based on the votes? Scary. Youtube is full of misogyny, racism and all kinds of anti-tax rubbish being upvoted. So in your theory, that means if they are upvoted that means they have to be good? hehehe.

      • Thats the thing… you are more than welcome to watch an utterly down voted video if you feel like it. The downvote count is just a tool the same with reviews and metacritic and such sites.

        And your mutually exclusive thinking of mass down voting automatically means trolling isnt helping either. There are so many fake/useless help videos that deservedly get down voted (you can even throw in toxic hate videos here btw) for obvious reasons.. or are you saying those videos are also victims of “hate mobs” and not actual valid opinions of people to avoid scams/useless/trolling videos?

        • “The downvote count is just a tool the same with reviews and metacritic and such sites.”

          And my point is how ridiculous using AND TRUSTING such a thing to inform you of somethings worth.

          • Just because your mind is severely limited does not mean the rest of us are incapable of making judgements.

            Creators who did not like dislikes could already previously hide them. This action now only serves to benefit scammers and Russian content farms

            You are delusional. Go back to crying about reddit, its all you are good at.

          • Who said anything about trusting?

            A review is subjective. The same as upvotes and downvotes. As you’ve mentioned any intelligent person can still make a decision regardless of down votes or negative comments. A red flag is just a sign that whatever is there is unpopular…whether its truly rubbish or a concerted trolling thats up to the person to agree or disagree with.

    • I’ve read a few of your comments in this thread… and changes like this are basically because of people like you. You are attacking anyone that doesn’t share your opinion, using things like mental health as an insult, throwing around conspiracies and just generally revelling in. It is completely ok to not support something and to express your feelings about it… but if you have to resort to attacking others, your argument is already on very shaky ground.

      • If you are affected that badly by downvotes mentally you need help not coddling.

        It’s not normal. You have serious mental issues if it does affect you like that.

        • Of course you are joking about mental illness, because while you love to berate people for having different opinions than yours, you could have spent that time researching the very large and highly recognised the serious damage downvoting stuff (and online trolling) has on people, especially children. There are countless of examples, the world over, of kids and others taking their lives or being severely screwed up over online hate campaigns.

          • OMG. THIS IS PERFECT. HE ACTUALLY POSTED “WONT SOMEONE THINK OF THE CHILDREN”
            HAHAHAHAHAHHAHA
            *chefs kiss*

          • or you can just log off,

            If you stay online and let something affect you like that its on you.

            Want to know how to stop online bullying? log off.

        • “Want to know how to stop online bullying? log off.”

          Ahh, a good old bit of victim blaming. How very on brand for someone abusing others and making fun of mental illness.

          You just showed your true colours… and it wasn’t a good showing for you.

  • “On YouTube, the barrage of dislikes tells the algorithm that the video is of low quality and suppresses its reach.”
    This is the only thing that needs to be said. It’s all about feeding the algorithm and making sure people are more inclined to “Like, comment and obey”. Which might help a smaller content creator but what it’s really about is working towards ensuring that big corporations stay relevant and don’t have their content review-bombed into oblivion.

    • Except this isn’t how it works. You can still dislike and it still influences the algorithm. The dislikes just aren’t being displayed in a way that allows people to watch the thumb count climb as if it’s some kind of democratic activist election.

      Further, what’s with this inexplicable assumption that only big corporations get thumb bombed. Lots of people get review bombed, but it’s the smaller content producers that are the most disproportionately affected by it. Even a couple of dozen down-votes due to a random frothing at the mouth reddit thread can have a disproportionately large impact on those content producers for years afterwards.

      For big companies, downvotes are just increased engagement and better looking social media metrics. There has literally never been a single situation where a big corporation has been “review-bombed into oblivion”. In fact, most of those campaigns have just resulted in more media articles and an increase in eyeballs.

      The dislike button is still staying. It’s just less likely to be something that incentivises pissing contests between culture warriors.

      • // In fact, most of those campaigns have just resulted in more media articles and an increase in eyeballs. //
        Yeah, because investors just fuckin’ love seeing article after article about your company’s wide spread history of sexual abuse against staff members.

  • Great news, anything to break the cycle of faceless-hate campaigns that are more about people feeding that ridiculous adrenaline born out of spam accounts and targeted campaigns. Some people need a better hobby.

    • Imagine needing to defend the need for a downvote feature. How shallow some people must be where they need to have an even shallower means through which to show their discontent in something.

      • imagine crying over features like you do repeatedly,

        You cry over user reviews in any form, You cry over Reddit and now you cry over youtube.

        You must go through tissue boxes by the hundreds mate.

    • I’m actually not against it, I just don’t think big companies/brands should be able to take advantage of it.

      Things like the dreaded downvote campaign are sometimes the only way to hold some of them accountable by shining a light on them at times when they’re responsible for shitty things.

      Not everyone visits sites like this, and comments on Youtube videos can be disabled… But the like/dislike is very noticable and I know for a fact it has in the past got me looking into WHY a company is being downvoted into dust, only to find out they have been doing some shady shit.

      If you need an idea of where this might come into play you need look no further than the recent example of Activision Blizzard.

      But sure, give companies like that even more ways to attempt to hide any and all signs of their behavior wherever possible.

      • Feel free to keep running your downvote campaigns, nobody is stopping you. They’ll even continue to influence content metrics.

        If your goal is instead to simply watch your dick sizes grow larger, however, then yeah, someone just took away your tape measure. Cry me a river.

        • You’ve missed his point… its not about increasing your dick size by contributing to the downvotes..

          Its the ability to see the number of downvotes that matters as its a sign for some folks to check out that there might be something wrong (and hopefully make an informed decision on the content/product/advice/etc). Which is technically what normal people do.

          • As the article clearly notes, YouTube’s research was that people (which is to say, “normal folk”) didn’t seem to be using the like and dislike count as a metric for quality anyway.

            I read the comment all right, but forgive me for not taking random internet guy’s anecdotal assertions as evidence of anything much at all. It ain’t me who needs to do some more reading.

          • Love this nested comment limit… another reason responses get so limited…

            @Angorafish: You do realise you are also “some random internet guy” with your own assertions and anecdotal situations and opinions right?

            We could put up points of discussion here for our side of opinions… but honestly is there any point?… this is why hot topics like this get so toxic… you cant even have a genuine discussion due to the sheer arrogance of folks dismissing anyone “wrong”

          • @Angorafish You didn’t read shit.

            You just rambled about something I wasn’t even talking about, as is made plainly evident by @rock_m nailing what I WAS talking about.

            Don’t worry though, I know what probably happened is you saw a particular name and burst a blood vessel. But don’t you for a second think I believe I’m somehow special in that regard. I suspect you have a whole list of names on the wall or something, as I’m far from the only person around here who is ‘blessed’ with like a 95% chance to summon you to monumentally/intentionally misinterpret and rant utter shite at them no matter what they comment.

  • a useless act that only benefits youtube, they get to help obscure their algorithm and prevent people from disengaging with obvious scams and bait while pretending like it’s some big move to protect creators from hate. so instead of like maybe making a functioning block system, or improving comment moderation or like actually just shutting down hate accounts they just pull shit like this and nothings going to change and youtube user “iloveracism1488” is going to keep existing without any repercussions.

  • I welcome protections for creators but you don’t have to know anything about YouTube, Google, advertising and media to know why this stinks so much.

    Hate campaigns are a real thing and should be taken seriously but it’s not even clear how this will actually fix the problem while the ways this can be misused are immediate, concerning and completely legitimate.

    • The solution already existed for hate campaigns. Creators could already disabled the like dislike count.

      Disabling dislike counts entirely only benefits scammers and shitty YouTube channels. The channels being harassed will still see that number and it will still affect them.

      This change is a fail.

      • I was gonna say the politicians and media but I see you already wrote that lol….

        Nah I’m sure it’s fine, an advertising platform run by proven manipulators and a truckload of signed corporate media and government contracts/agreements in the rear view mirror? She’ll be right.

        • Yeah, legacy media hates youtube and has wanted to fuck with it for ages. They liked the control they had over the masses and hate that youtube removes that control they used to have.

    • Funding… YT as a platform actually doesnt make much money if at all…it only wins by virtue of being part of Google as a whole which means its propped up by Googles corporate clout and commercial connections and there are very little other companies out there willing to invest in creating a platform that cant guarantee returns. Dailymotion has existed as YT’s poor brother for years and has never really grown as a contender.. add in Mixer dying last year basically shows just how hard it is to start/run alternate services.

      • It also has the benefit of having achieved that critical mass of people browsing which means content producers are more likely to make YouTube their main platform, which means the audience is more likely to stop there first when looking for new content, which means content producers are more likely to make YouTube their main platform. Over the past five or so years they’ve proven that they can screw that up pretty badly and still get away with just tanking the damage.

        At this point it would require either a mass exodus of YouTube rando viewers or a new platform to somehow increase the perceived value of their viewers while reducing the value of YouTube viewers. The latter almost exists with systems like Patreon but at that point the financials are taken care of so there’s no reason not to go with YouTube. A competitor like DailyMotion would have to be able to prove that while raw views and growth on YouTube are higher, they connect you with more people that are willing to open their wallets.

  • This was only done because Nintendo pulled that Switch online farming sub, and of course they have so much power they can just get everyone else to do what they want.

    • Seems like a way to downplay and potentially bury the hate campaign concept rather than actually solve the admittedly tough problems that led here. Makes it harder for victims to identify each other and group together, harder for casual viewers to see what’s happening, harder to gain sympathy/prove what’s happening and forces victims to work harder to keep people’s attention on the subject.

  • “YouTube experimented with removing the dislike count earlier this year to see if hiding the number of dislikes would reduce the occurrence of targeted dislike campaigns. It did.”

    I bet crushing all cars into cubes would slash road fatalities too.

    Moronic.

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