So long, bad vibes—the dislike button has taken its final bow on YouTube after months of beta-testing where the Dislike count was hidden. In a video shared on November 10, Creator Liaison Matt Koval explained the company’s motivation behind this culture-shifting change, sharing that ultimately, “it’s much less likely to cause stress and embarrassment if the count isn’t visible to the public.” To be clear, the Dislike button isn’t going anywhere—it will remain.
However, the Dislike counts will now be private. Those numbers can now be found inside Studio Analytics under the Engagement tab in the backend of your account. According to Koval, the Dislike action will also continue to help tune your own recommendations but as a viewer, you won’t be able to see the Dislike count of the video you’re watching.
The hope is that this will make YouTube a safer, more inclusive space for all users, where the Dislike button has been previously used to target creators.
“Research teams at YouTube have found there’s this whole other use for disliking a video that I had never experienced as a creator and you may not have either,” he said. “Apparently groups of viewers are targeting a video’s Dislike button to drive up the count, turning it into something like a game with a visible scoreboard. And it’s usually because they don’t like the creator or what they stand for.”
One of the most common questions around this update is: without Like and Dislike numbers, how will I know if a video is worth watching? Statistically speaking, this actually makes no difference.
“While viewers might use the dislike count to give them a sense of a video’s worth, when the YouTube teams looked at the data across millions of viewers and videos in the experiment, they didn’t see a noticeable difference in viewership regardless of whether they could see the dislike count or not. In other words, it didn’t really matter if a video had a lot of dislikes or not,” said Koval.
Will this improve the creator experience? Only time will tell.
Subscribe to the BlogHer newsletter for more tactical advice, exclusive content, and timely event updates.