YouTube reduces the ‘dislikes’ count on videos in order to protect creators against ‘attacks by trolls that harm their mental health. However, viewers complain it makes it difficult for them to find quality content.

  • YouTube has made it difficult to hide the dislikes of videos users have left after they were tested.
  • The creators can still view how many people dislike the video, but not viewers.
  • It aims to lower the incidence of ‘dislike attack’ and lessen stress for content creators
  • However, some people feel it makes it harder to judge the quality of videos. 

YouTube hides the number of “dislikes” on videos to avoid ‘attacks’ on small creators whose mental well-being is compromised by harassment. 

According to the US streaming video platform, creators can still see how many people dislike their videos but it will not be displayed alongside comments under the video. 

After the announcement last Wednesday, YouTube has begun rolling out the feature. 

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 has made it difficult to hide the number of dislikes on YouTube videos. This is done in an effort to protect smaller creators from being harassed. Image from stock

YouTube changed the ‘dislike’ method to display videos after a pilot of it earlier in the year. 

YouTube stated that the goal is to “protect” creators against coordinated attacks, where users gather together to increase the dislikes for a video. The overall harassment will be reduced. 

BBC News spoke to Kenzo, the music creator who boasts 200 YouTube subscribers. He said that receiving dislikes for videos could affect creators’ mental well-being. 

He stated, “You can put your heart and soul in something but then it doesn’t work out as you would like it to. This is disheartening.

“I’ve removed all likes from my Instagram account. It’s helped me to not care so much about the number of people who liked it.

Opponents of the changes argue that it makes it harder for viewers to decide if a video is worthwhile 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

According to the US streaming site, creators can still see how many people dislike their videos but they will not be visible in videos. Screengrab of likes and dislikes on YouTube videos.

YouTubers are able to gauge other users’ response by using a number of likes and dislikes. 

Chris Burton, Content Creator said that dislikes are particularly useful when trying to avoid clickbait. 

He explained that you want to know right away how great the video looks before watching it. You can often trust the thumbnail or title. It’s very likely that a tutorial video will not help you if it has nearly all of your dislikes.  

YouTube anticipates that the new changes will benefit smaller creators who are often subject to 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. It was created by PewDiePie with one purpose: to receive 1,000,000 dislikes. There are currently 5.6 millions. 

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.

“Viewers could see the dislike button and still use it as part of the experiment. 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, we saw a decline in the dislike-attacking behavior as a result of our experiment. 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.’

She added, “We want to create an inclusive atmosphere where creators can succeed and feel secure to express their opinions.” These are just a few of the many measures we’re taking to ensure creators don’t get harassed. Our work is not done, and we’ll continue to invest here.’