YouTube Will Hide ‘Dislike’ Counts to Avoid Creator Pile-Ons
(Bloomberg) -- YouTube will no longer show the number of “dislikes” on videos, an attempt to make the platform more hospitable to creators.
For years, YouTube has relied on the tiny thumbs below each video as a metric for ranking content. Viewers often used the thumbs-down button to torment or harass certain creators -- worse engagement metrics can mean less promotion by the platform’s algorithm. During tests, YouTube said it found that hiding the display count cut down on this practice.
“We also heard directly from smaller creators and those just getting started that they are unfairly targeted by this behavior,” the company wrote in a blog post on Wednesday. The button itself isn’t going away -- only the public view of the count.
YouTube, part of Alphabet Inc.’s Google, needs to keep creators happy because it’s facing its first real competition for talent in years from rivals like Instagram, TikTok and Spotify. Meta Platforms Inc.’s Instagram let users hide their like counts on posts earlier this year, responding to criticism about the stress the feature places on young users.
Susan Wojcicki, YouTube’s chief executive officer, said in September that YouTube was a “really valuable resource” for teenage mental health. The company has pledged to provide more internal research on the subject to U.S. Congress.
The YouTube video with the most dislikes ever actually belongs to YouTube. In 2018, the company’s annual marketing promo, YouTube Rewind, was widely ridiculed by top creators and fans. YouTube has since stopped producing these videos.
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