Dislike counts on YouTube videos can be contentious at times, and the platform has decided that it’s no longer something it wants the public to see. The platform announced that it was testing this back in March, and now it has started to gradually remove viewers’ ability to see them on videos.
YouTube argues that the dislike count can be used as a form of harassment. And the platform argues that in its own analysis, hiding the public dislike count saw a reduction in dislike attacking behaviour. The move also supposedly garnered support from smaller creators, because these dislike attacks tend to happen more often for said smaller channels. Also argued was that the dislike count didn’t really help viewers identify untrustworthy videos, since they got watched just the same.
Despite removing the public count, the dislike button itself will still be there. Content creators will still be able to see the actual number. And when you dislike a video, the personalisation algorithm will still work to recommend less of similar kinds of videos.
This is a difficult position to argue. The general public will likely only have seen major channels, like those by video game publishers, getting mass dislikes for announcements of their business decisions. The change will also see YouTube get used like Twitter, where a viewer’s survey of public feedback will come from the likes to comments ratio, unless that got disabled too.