Since 2019, Google’s video site has been experimenting with ways to de-weaponize the dislike button in response to targeted campaigns and to improve wellbeing. YouTube is now going ahead with hiding the public dislike count.

Back in March, a YouTube test hid dislike counts for some users but retained the ability to tap that button. This change is now permanent and will start gradually rolling out today. The site found that this led to a “reduction in dislike attacking behavior.” 

But because the count was not visible to them, we found that they were less likely to target a video’s dislike button to drive up the count.

Another finding was:

We also heard directly from smaller creators and those just getting started that they are unfairly targeted by this behavior — and our experiment confirmed that this does occur at a higher proportion on smaller channels.

YouTube dislike count

Creators will still have access to the precise dislike count in YouTube Studio, with no metrics changing. 

Google heard user feedback and acknowledged that “some of you have used the public dislike count to help decide whether or not to watch a video.” Meanwhile, disliking videos will continue to tune your recommendations, are you’re still able to see the number of likes relative to the view count.

We know that you might not agree with this decision, but we believe that this is the right thing to do for the platform.

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Abner Li

Editor-in-chief. Interested in the minutiae of Google and Alphabet. Tips/talk: abner@9to5g.com