YouTube testing removing public 'Dislike' counts on videos - will it get a thumbs up?

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As all social media platforms are now keen to come down on negative behaviour (on their platforms), YouTube too seems to have joined the fray. It has launched a new experiment which will see the 'dislike' counts visible to the public removed on some creators' videos.

Creators of videos will, however, continue to see the full like and dislike counts in YouTube Studio. Further, viewers will also be able to like and dislike videos as normal. Just that the dislike numbers won't be visible. 

In a few weeks time, YouTube will start selecting users to be part of this experiment. And they, in turn, can provide feedback related to the new design.

YouTube wants to improve creators' experience

YouTube's idea is to address issues like orchestrated dislike campaigns and the impact of negative indicators on user well-being.

“In response to creator feedback around well-being and targeted dislike campaigns, we're testing a few new designs that don't show the public dislike count. If you're part of this small experiment, you might spot one of these designs in the coming weeks,” YouTube said in a tweet from its official account.

"Viewer feedback has always been, and will continue to be, an important part of YouTube. But we've heard from creators that the public dislike counts can impact their wellbeing, and may motivate a targeted campaign of dislikes on a creator’s video. So, we're testing designs that don’t include the visible like or dislike count in an effort to balance improving the creator experience, while still making sure viewer feedback is accounted for and shared with the creator," it said in a separate post.

The 'like' and 'dislike' counts, generally seen as 'vanity metrics' one way or the other, have become hot topics as social media platforms grapple with the issue of negative impact on its users due to trolls and campaigns.

Not the final decision on 'dislike' button

YouTube had earlier wrestled with the idea of removing the dislike the button lock, stock and barrel. 

But the Google-owned platform now seems to be feeling that would be an overkill.

It now says: "We’re just experimenting with a few designs that don’t show the dislike counts. We’ll be keeping a close eye on the feedback from these experiments to determine what decisions we may want to make in the future."

It may be recalled that Instagram is also experimenting with the removal of public like counts. It is also testing the option of allowing users to display 'like' counts with their posts in a non-numeric way.

Balakumar K
Senior Editor

Over three decades as a journalist covering current affairs, politics, sports and now technology. Former Editor of News Today, writer of humour columns across publications and a hardcore cricket and cinema enthusiast. He writes about technology trends and suggest movies and shows to watch on OTT platforms.