YouTube Is Removing Dislike Counts From Being Viewed By The Community At Large

YouTube has recently announced that it will now be hiding dislike numbers on videos from the public eye.

The dislike button isn't a particularly harmful button in and of itself, just as displaying a conflict of interest isn't harmful. The button's main purpose was to help people distance themselves with content they didn't like, and to add a bit more flavor to the overall YouTube community. Likes are easily dispensed, and offer no more commentary on content. Dislikes, however, invite debate and discourse. It's an interesting way of increasing engagement across the YouTube community, and one could say that the results speak for themselves. However, YouTube's Devs seem to be of the opinion that perhaps they speak a bit too loudly, and what they have to say isn't all that good.

YouTube's decision to remove the dislike button comes from a mindset that is geared around protecting the community from harassment and unfair bias. Specifically, YouTube is concerned with protecting smaller content creators on the platform from being overwhelmed by dislike attacks, which could lead to discouragement from the platform as a whole. Naturally, YouTube doesn't want new creators being discouraged from pursuing this line of work (profit margin and all that jazz), so public viewing of a video's dislike count will no longer be available. Instead, dislike numbers will be private and used entirely for a user's individual feedback.

This decision is one that YouTube had been considering for a short while, at least. Earlier this year, the video hosting platform had revealed that it will be experimenting with hiding dislike counts from the general community and populace, and while this interface update wasn't discussed all too much back then, the reasoning was sort of obvious. Naturally, a few conversations regarding the decision come into play immediately. Users may argue whether or not this removal of dislike counts is a suppression of free speech and self expression. Others may even state that removal of the dislike count means that users can not be immediately dissuaded from engaging with content that is decidedly harmful or toxic.

At any rate, the decision is made, and the reaction from the community is now to be gauged. This author is interested by the fact that the removal of the dislike button from YouTube harkens back to Facebook's refusal to add one, in that both these decisions share a root cause: keeping the community from leaving. No one likes negative feedback, and both platforms very actively want to avoid giving any form of it.

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