YouTube Makes Video Dislike Counts Private

Platform aims to reduce dislike attacks and their impact on creators

YouTube made video dislike counts private across the platform with a new update beginning its gradual rollout Wednesday.

According to YouTube, this is part of an effort to create a respectful environment and curb harassment. Content creators will still be able to find the dislike count in YouTube Studio’s analytics and other metrics to understand how their video is doing.

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In March of this year, YouTube announced that it would experiment with the dislike button to see if removing it would better protect creators from harassment. The platform claims its research teams discovered groups of people would misuse the dislike button to target content creators as part of a coordinated assault.

During the experiment, YouTube discovered that by making the dislikes private, the number of coordinated attacks went down a significant amount. The dislike button will still be there for people to use, and the platform's algorithm will use this feedback to fine-tune a person's recommended videos; it's just the display number disappearing.

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YouTube also took the time to address common questions it encountered during the experimental phase. When asked how people will know the video is worthwhile, YouTube states the dislike count affects viewership very little and people will watch anyway.

The platform also addressed if the change was spurred on by personal feelings over the amount of dislikes 2018's YouTube Rewind got. YouTube responded by saying the change is about protecting all creators by ensuring their safety on the platform.

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