YouTube hiding dislikes – considerations

13 Dec 2021 UK SIC

Content creation, can be a brilliant opportunity to express ourselves, our skills, as well as our likes and dislikes. This can be, showing off a talent, speaking about a particular hobby, or showing off entertainment for a particular audience. With most social platforms though, there is also a chance to see how other users online have responded to what we post. This could be through the number of views on a particular video, the amount of ‘likes’ we may receive on a particular post, or the amount of times content is shared online.

YouTube, unlike a lot of other social media platforms that we have grown accustomed to, has a feature that lets users ‘dislike’ other people’s videos. For many years, if you watched a video, you’d be able to see the ratio between ‘likes’ and ‘dislikes’, giving an overall feel of how viewers have responded to the content. Now, in a recent update from the platform, YouTube has decided to ‘hide’ the ‘dislike’ count making it only private to the creator but also still allowing users online to press the ‘dislike’ button if they wish.

Taking the Focus Away from Dislikes

For some, pressing the dislike button is an opportunity to guide their YouTube experience online, showing that this type of content should not be recommended to that particular user. For others though, it can be used to harass or target individuals through ‘trolling’ and can sometimes encourage more viewers to do the same and build up videos with larger dislike counts.

YouTube did an experiment and found that in hiding the dislike count, viewers were ‘less likely to target a video’s dislike button to drive up the count.’ YouTube creators are still able to view their ‘dislike’ counts if they wish but it is only private to them.

Considerations for hiding dislikes

YouTube has said to make this change to promote ‘respectful interactions between viewers and creators’. It is good to see YouTube addressing harassment and harm online. We hope to see this lead to less creators feeling victimised through harmful interactions such as ‘dislike attacks’. ‘Hiding’ the counts can create a new boundary online from attacks, however, it is important to be aware that creators can still view ‘dislike’ responses and comments which can open up opportunities to experience harm online.

With this latest update, take the time to think about the content you are publishing as a creator. Do you know about the potential reach and the levels of response you may receive which can often be unpredictable? If your YouTube account does not have enough privacy settings in place, take a look at their Privacy Control page to find out more about keeping your account more in control. 

If you are concerned about harassment or feel your content is being targeted through harmful comments, then make sure you know how to report to YouTube. You can also get advice or report legal but harmful content at Report Harmful Content.

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