Thomas is a writer at TNW. He covers the full spectrum of European tech, with a particular focus on deeptech, startups, and government polic Thomas is a writer at TNW. He covers the full spectrum of European tech, with a particular focus on deeptech, startups, and government policy.
Bad news, my fellow haters: YouTube has started hiding dislike counts on videos.
While the thumbs-down button is staying, the tally will only be available to the person who uploaded the video.
YouTube says the move will shield creators from harassment and “dislike attacks.” In tests, the changes made people “less likely to target a video’s dislike button to drive up the count.”
YouTube is now gradually making the switch a permanent feature. Viewers will still be able to dislike videos, which will tune their recommendations, but the counter will be concealed within the creator’s analytics dashboard.
That could reduce their stress and exposure to coordinated attacks. But that may be to the detriment of the viewer’s experience.
The ratio of likes to dislikes can expose sentiments about a video. Viewers use the counters to avoid clickbait, discover helpful tutorials, and gauge public opinion about the creator’s perspective.
Yes, they can be manipulated and cause anxiety. But turning dislikes off could lure more haters to the comments, where attacks can be more vicious, bigoted, and personal.
Critics also fear the change will quash dissent and limit accountability.
YouTube removing dislikes not only censors dissent from corporate propaganda and brand agendas
It also protects predators and abusers from accountability to their audience, making new victims easier to find
In the effort to make users "safe" YouTube has done the opposite
— Zack (@Asmongold) November 11, 2021
YouTube says smaller creators are disproportionately targeted by dislike mobs. But the platform’s most disliked videos were published by companies. Number one on the list is YouTube itself, with over 19 million thumbs-downs for the abominable “Rewind 2018.”
The company’s explanation of the new update is also getting panned. At the time of writing, the video had attracted 24,00 dislikes — and only 7,000 thumbs up.
For now, you may still have time to contribute to the tally. If you’re already too late, perhaps I’ll see you in the comments.
Get the TNW newsletter
Get the most important tech news in your inbox each week.