Why YouTube Hiding Dislikes Is Bad for the Community

Throughout 2021, YouTube ran a test where it hid the dislike count on its videos, in certain cases. In November 2021, this went from an experiment to a global change. Now, you’ll no longer see the dislike count underneath any YouTube videos.

Let’s look at why hiding dislike counts is bad for the YouTube community.

No Dislikes, No Crowd Feedback

Until now, the standard for YouTube videos was to have a Like and Dislike button underneath each video. Each button had a number to show how many likes and dislikes the video had, plus a bar beneath those buttons to visualize the ratio.

Now, YouTube has removed the dislike count on all videos. You can still click Dislike, but the count doesn’t appear on the video. Accordingly, the ratio bar is also gone.

YouTube New Like Panel

The biggest problem with removing the dislike button is that it takes away the ability of everyone watching the video to provide feedback on it. The like-to-dislike ratio was an easy and important way to gauge the quality of a video before spending the time watching it.

This is especially important when checking out smaller channels that you’re not familiar with. Seeing a high dislike count on a video tutorial is a good sign that it doesn’t work properly. Sensationally-titled videos that have tons of dislikes can help you avoid wasting time on clickbait.


Related: Ways to Spot Fake and Useless Reviews Online

Now, the average viewer has no easy way to see what other people think of a video. The like count is still public, but without the number of dislikes to put that into perspective, it’s not very useful.

Imagine if online stores like Amazon only allowed five-star reviews, so people could never leave negative feedback on poor products. That’s effectively what YouTube has done here.

YouTube’s Reasons Don’t Hold Up

YouTube’s official announcement video, and blog post about this change, acknowledges the concerns people have with it. The clip says that this was mainly done to prevent “dislike attacks,” which is when people mass-downvote a video.

While “dislike attacks” aren’t pleasant, there’s often a reason why lots of people feel the need to dislike a video, and these crusades usually don’t last for long. The video also states that people sometimes dislike videos “because they don’t like the creator or what they stand for.”

But that’s what a dislike button is for — it lets you express that, for whatever reason, you don’t like a video. If you can’t take the most minor criticism of someone saying that they don’t like what you created, then you probably shouldn’t be making videos for YouTube. Disliking a video is not the same as harassing the creators in comments or on social media.

YouTube points out that creators already had the option to disable the Like / Dislike buttons on individual videos, but that they are often “bullied and harassed” for doing so. The company didn’t give any data to explain how often this happens, or how much having visible dislikes actually has an effect on creators. It is thus difficult to determine whether these reasons are justified.

Thankfully, we can turn to creators to hear what they actually think of this.

Creators Hate This Change

YouTube claims that it’s making this change to protect smaller creators, but smaller YouTubers — as well as almost everyone else on the platform — are overwhelmingly against the change. YouTube co-founder Jawed Karim changed the description of his “Me at the zoo” video (the first on YouTube) to explain why he’s against the decision:

Jawed YouTube Dislikes Description

Take a look around Twitter and YouTube, and you’ll see plenty of videos from creators large and small talking about why they don’t like this decision. Meanwhile, YouTube continues to ignore actual issues its creators have, such as demonetization and copyright strikes that happen without warning or explanation.

This move doesn’t really protect creators; it instead takes away the voice of viewers. Now people won’t know how many others feel the same way when they dislike a video.

Given YouTube’s bend towards mainstream media and entertainment over the years, one possible explanation is that YouTube is doing this for companies that don’t want to face backlash when they put something out that isn’t well-received. Government channels, movie trailers, and similar have been subject to this recently.

Dislikes Are Important

On a site with as much content as YouTube, letting people give feedback is important. Removing the dislike counter hides useful information and doesn’t help creators in the way YouTube says it will.

Since we won’t have this information in the future, now is a fun time to look back at the most-disliked YouTube videos of all time.


The Most Disliked YouTube Videos of All Time (And Why You Hate Them)

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