YouTube removes 'dislike' totals from videos to 'protect' creators

YouTube removes ‘dislike’ totals from videos to ‘protect’ creators from ‘attacks’ by trolls that damage their mental health – but viewers say it makes finding quality content difficult

  • YouTube is hiding the number of dislikes on videos from users following trial
  • Creators will still be able to see the number of dislikes, but viewers will not
  • Aims to reduce number of ‘dislike attacks’ and reduce stress for content creators
  • But some users say it will make it more difficult to determine quality of videos 
  • YouTube is hiding the number of ‘dislikes’ on videos in a move to prevent ‘attacks’ on smaller creators whose mental health is affected by ‘harassment’. 

    The US video streaming platform explained creators will still be able to see the number of dislikes on their videos, but they will no longer be visible alongside the ‘likes’ in the comment section under each video. 

    The feature is being rolled out across YouTube following the announcement last week. 

    YouTube is hiding the number of 'dislikes' on videos to help prevent 'attacks' on smaller creators whose mental health is affected by 'harassment'. Stock image

    YouTube is hiding the number of ‘dislikes’ on videos to help prevent ‘attacks’ on smaller creators whose mental health is affected by ‘harassment’. Stock image

    The change to YouTube’s ‘dislike’ approach follows a trial of the update earlier this year. 

    YouTube said the aim is to ‘protect’ creators from coordinated ‘attacks’, in which users rally together to drive up the number of dislikes on a given video. It will also reduce overall harassment. 

    Speaking to BBC News, music creator Kenzo, who has 200 YouTube subscribers, hailed the move and said receiving dislikes on videos can affect creators’ mental health. 

    He said: ‘You might put your heart and soul into something and then it doesn’t come out the way you want it to with likes or dislikes – that can be disheartening.

    ‘On my Instagram account I’ve taken all likes off and it’s really helped with not caring about the amount of people liking it.’

    However opponents to the change point out it will make it more difficult for viewers to determine whether a video is worth watching. 

    The US video streaming platform explained creators will still be able to see the number of dislikes on their videos, but these figures will be hidden from videos. Pictured, a screengrab showing the likes (thumbs up) and dislikes (thumbs down) on one YouTube video

    The US video streaming platform explained creators will still be able to see the number of dislikes on their videos, but these figures will be hidden from videos. Pictured, a screengrab showing the likes (thumbs up) and dislikes (thumbs down) on one YouTube video

    The number of ‘likes’ and ‘dislikes’ is a helpful metric by which YouTubers can gauge the response of other users. 

    Content Creator Chris Burton said dislikes can be particularly helpful when avoiding clickbait. 

    He said: ‘You want to immediately know how good the video is, before you watch it. A lot of the time, you can’t trust the title or thumbnail. If you see a tutorial video and it’s got almost all dislikes, you know it’s not going to help you.’  

    YouTube expects the change to be of particular benefit to smaller creators, who are disproportionately affected by coordinated dislike attacks. 

    One of the most disliked videos on YouTube is this one by Swedish creator PewDiePie. He created it with the sole purpose of trying to get 1 million dislikes. It currently as 5.6 million

    One of the most disliked videos on YouTube is this one by Swedish creator PewDiePie. He created it with the sole purpose of trying to get 1 million dislikes. It currently as 5.6 million 

    The company said in a statement: ‘Earlier this year, we experimented with the dislike button to see whether or not changes could help better protect our creators from harassment, and reduce dislike attacks — where people work to drive up the number of dislikes on a creator’s videos.

    ‘As part of this experiment, viewers could still see and use the dislike button. But because the count was not visible to them, we found that they were less likely to target a video’s dislike button to drive up the count. 

    ‘In short, our experiment data showed a reduction in dislike attacking behavior. 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.’

    It added: ‘We want to create an inclusive and respectful environment where creators have the opportunity to succeed and feel safe to express themselves. This is just one of many steps we are taking to continue to protect creators from harassment. Our work is not done, and we’ll continue to invest here.’