Big changes coming out of YouTube today with news that the platform will soon hide a video’s thumbs-down count to public viewers.
In a blog post announcing the update, YouTube says they experimented with changes to the dislike button earlier this year to see if hiding the public count would “reduce dislike attacks” (when users collectively drive up the number of dislikes on a video) and “protect our creators from harassment”.
The company reveals that this experiment worked, and they’re now ready to make this a permanent change to the platform.
“Our experiment data showed a reduction in dislike attacking behavior,” they explain. “We also heard directly from smaller creators and those just getting started that they are unfairly targeted by this behavior — and our experiment confirmed that this does occur at a higher proportion on smaller channels.”
While public dislike counts will be hidden, the button will still exist and creators will still be able to see the number of dislikes on their own videos.
This shift comes after mounting public pressure on big tech platforms to implement better moderation guidelines for creator and user protection, especially when it comes to mob behaviour. However several people have noted the decision to hide public dislike counts may also be a way for YouTube to bury an embarrassing piece of the platform’s history— the most disliked video of all time is the company’s 2018 Rewind with 19 million dislikes at the time of publication.
“This is just one of many steps we are taking to continue to protect creators from harassment,” YouTube claims. “Our work is not done, and we’ll continue to invest here.”