YouTube has announced to gradually make the dislike counts private across YouTube. The company stated the change is to ensure respectful interactions between viewers and creators. Moreover, they said, “Creators will still be able to find their exact dislike counts in YouTube Studio, along with other existing metrics, if they would like to understand how their content is performing.” The dislike button also serves to tune viewers’ recommendations.
“We want to create an inclusive and respectful environment where creators have the opportunity to succeed and feel safe to express themselves.”YouTube Official Blog
YouTube explained their decision with the results of experiments with the dislike button earlier this year. As part of these experiments, viewers could still dislike videos, but the count was not visible to them. Therefore, viewers were less likely to target a video’s dislike button to drive up the count.
Furthermore, the experiment showed that smaller channels are more often targeted by dislike attacking or harassment. Therefore, with YouTube’s decision to hide the dislike counts, they want to support smaller creators in particular.
It is questionable if dislike counts going private are really going to protect creators from harassment in social media. Moreover, some users criticize that not being able to see public dislikes could lead to more users watching videos that include misinformation or hidden ads.