YouTube is testing the removal public dislike counts on videos, but will not be getting rid of the dislike button altogether.
As part of the experiment, users will start seeing a few potential new designs for the like and dislike buttons that appear below videos.
One of the potential new designs can be seen below:
In this particular design the dislike button doesn’t include a public count, but is still in its usual position next to the like button.
YouTube says it’s testing the new design in response to feedback that dislike counts can affect the well-being of content creators.
Sometimes the dislike button is used as part of a motivated campaign to target a creator’s content. Such campaigns can result in an artificially inflated dislike count that may even exceed the like count.
Through this experiment YouTube will find out if removing public dislike counts will result in fewer targeted dislike campaigns.
What does this mean for creators and viewers?
Viewers who are part of the test group can continue to like and dislike videos.
YouTube channels will still be able to see the like and dislike counts on individual videos when they login to YouTube Studio.
That may lead you to wonder, if creators can continue to see how many dislikes they receive, why isn’t YouTube testing the remove of the dislike button entirely?
With this experiment YouTube wants to improve the creator experience while also ensuring viewer feedback is accounted for and shared back to the creator.
When it’s not being used maliciously, the dislike button has a practical purpose for YouTube users. The dislike button can be used to tune YouTube’s recommendation algorithm to one’s individual tastes.
When a user dislikes a video they’re less likely to see recommendations for similar types of videos on their home page.
For creators the dislike button can be a useful source of viewer feedback when it’s being used as intended.
That’s why the dislike button will remain underneath videos, and its impact on video recommendations will remain the same (as far as I can tell).
YouTube says it’s not possible to opt out of this experiment, but the company will be closely monitoring feedback to determine whether it should proceed with a broad roll out.
YouTube is not the first site to experiment with hiding engagement numbers.
Back in 2019, Instagram experimented with removing like counts. Like YouTube, the motivation behind Instagram’s experiment was to improve the mental health of its users.
Facebook started hiding like counts on its site several months after Instagram began its experiment.
Both experiments were short lived and like counts ended up returning to Instagram and Facebook.
Time will tell how long YouTube’s experiment lasts and what, if any, impact it has on creators’ well-being.
Source: YouTube Help