The first YouTube video was uploaded by co-founder Jawed Karim on April 23, 2005. That seminal 18-second “Me at the zoo” clip now contains a protest of YouTube’s decision to no longer publicly show dislike counts.

When every YouTuber agrees that removing dislikes is a stupid idea, it probably is. Try again, YouTube 🤦‍♂️

The change was first spotted on Saturday morning, and was preceded by Karim commenting (via Reddit) on the “Update to YouTube’s Dislike Count” video announcing the change.

When the site launched in early 2005, Karim was not officially an employee but rather an informal advisor – given that he was “focused on school.” That said, his shares were still worth around $64 million following the Google acquisition.

This is not the first time the co-founder criticized a YouTube change using his channel, which is also the first one on the site. In 2013, he was very critical about the need for a Google+ account to comment on videos.

Meanwhile, the YouTube description for “Me at the zoo” has been updated several times. At the start, it read:

The first video on YouTube, uploaded at 8:27 P.M. on Saturday April 23rd, 2005. The video was shot by Yakov Lapitsky at the San Diego Zoo.

Over the years, it was used to promote “Part 2,” while it was notoriously hacked in 2019. 

For its part, YouTube says the change is meant to cause a “reduction in dislike attacking behavior.” Creators can see the full count in YouTube Studio, but users are no longer able to use it as a metric to determine whether or not to watch something. Prominent personalities have spoken out against the change, while some – including “smaller creators” – are receptive to the move.

We heard during the experiment that some of you have used the public dislike count to help decide whether or not to watch a video. We know that you might not agree with this decision, but we believe that this is the right thing to do for the platform.

End users are still able to dislike to tune their recommendations and see the full like count. The removal is “gradually rolling out.”

More on YouTube:

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Abner Li

Editor-in-chief. Interested in the minutiae of Google and Alphabet. Tips/talk: