YouTube Starts Hiding Dislike Counts to Curb Creator Harassment

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YouTube is giving a thumbs-down to its longstanding “dislike” feature.

In an effort to thwart “dislike attacks” on creators, YouTube said that starting Wednesday (Nov. 10) it will start hiding public dislike counts. The change will roll out gradually across the entire platform.

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However, the dislike button will remain: YouTube viewers can still dislike videos, which will influence YouTube’s recommendation algorithm as well as provide a way to “privately share feedback” with creators, according to the Google-owned video giant. And creators will still be able to see their exact dislike counts in YouTube Studio “if they would like to understand how their content is performing,” YouTube said in a blog post announcing the update.

Three years ago, YouTube itself was targeted by the most massive dislike attack in its history: The 2018 YouTube Rewind set the record for the most dislikes of any video on the platform, sparked by users who felt the annual look-back compilation snubbed homegrown creators in favor of mainstream celebs like Will Smith, Trevor Noah and Marshmello. It still holds the title as the most-disliked YouTube video (with more than 19 million thumbs-downs) followed by Pinkfong’s “Baby Shark Dance” (more than 14 million dislikes), per the soon-to-be-discontinued public counters.

YouTube decided to stop showing public dislike totals based on findings from a small-scale test it conducted starting in March 2021. The data showed a reduction in dislike-attacking behavior for videos with hidden dislike counts, according to YouTube — a phenomenon that disproportionately affects smaller creators.

During the experiment, YouTube also received feedback from some people who said they rely on public dislike counts to help decide whether or not to watch a video. “We know that you might not agree with this decision, but we believe that this is the right thing to do for the platform,” YouTube said in the blog post.

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