Google-owned video streaming giant YouTube has announced that it will make “dislike” count on video private across the platform. YouTube says that while dislike counts will be made private, the company has no intention of removing the dislike button. The “dislike” button allows users to dislike a creator’s video in case they did not like. Creators will be able to track their dislikes on YouTube Studio alongside other analytics about their video’s performance, if they choose.
This change comes after an experiment from the Google-owned platform earlier this year which was done to determine if these sort of changes will reduce dislike attacks and creator harassment on the platform. Back then YouTube had explained that public dislike counts can affect creators’ well-being and may motivate targeted campaigns to add dislikes to videos. While that’s true, dislikes can also serve as a signal to others when videos are clickbait, spam, or misleading. According to a report in TechCrunch, YouTube ran the tests for multiple months and conducted in-depth analysis as to how the changes affected both users and creators.
According to the report, the company had experimented with different designs for removing the dislike counts, including one where the word “Dislike” appeared underneath the thumbs down button instead of the number of dislikes. However, this is the design that company has settled on (making number of dislikes private), which is a less disruptive change to the row of engagement buttons beneath a video.