Opinion: YouTube’s latest change is something I really dislike — and you should dislike it too

By Danny Franklin
November 21st, 2021

YouTube’s latest change

YouTube’s latest change was to remove the dislike count. YouTube recently announced a change to the way that dislikes would work on their site. The new change now means that the dislike count will be hidden from the public in a bid to protect creators. The creator will still be able to see the dislikes they receive, however, no one else will be able to.

A picture of someone with their thumb down a reflection of YouTube's latest change.

To protect the creators

YouTube claims the move was the protect their content creators from targeted abuse, while I am not saying this does not happen, I certainly do not think this was the only reason. Content creators are really annoyed by this change – and rightly so. Nobody wanted this change, it devalues all content on YouTube. YouTube claim that during their studies they found that people were still watching videos with high amounts of dislikes – but they would say that, wouldn’t they?

It will also allow politicians to get away with different things completely unchecked – for we can only see the likes this content has got – this can be paired with comments being disabled. It may make fake news stories more credible. It also could lead to general depreciation of YouTube’s overall content. YouTube has entered a worrying stage where in order to protect a small amount of content creators, they are changing their platform in a major way that will affect their over 2 billion active users (source: Global Media Insights).

“Is this because YouTube Rewind got lots of dislikes?”

Matt Koval – YouTube Creators

Matt Koval, goes on to claim that the answer to this is “no”. You can see the full video in the link below.

A dangerous path

If someone feels that the abuse they receive from a YouTube dislike button is too much for them, then it could be argued, that they should not have a YouTube account in the first place. By becoming a public figure in any environment even as a “YouTuber”, you are opening the floodgates to potential hate. Removing the ability for other people to see the quality of content purely to protect someone’s feelings is a dangerous path. I am not saying that people do not receive abuse online, nor am I saying they should receive abuse online. It could easily be argued that the abuse is more likely to stem from the comments section and not the dislike counter.

Other platforms have added the ability for someone to hide their like count – this is totally different in scope. People can often feel insecure about receiving limited numbers of likes on a platform where you can only like content. Having a way to remove likes is a good idea to help people feel less concerned about social media pressures. I would have understood if YouTube had have hidden both the like and dislike count – that way, they could have still showed us a bar so we could see the ratio. This move would have helped smaller creators out and would have also allowed for fans of a channel to help creators they felt were being unnecessarily bombarded with dislikes too.

YouTube released a video explaining their change which can be watched here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kxOuG8jMIgI.

© Danny Franklin 2017 - 2023