YouTube has announced that it’s making a change to the way dislikes are displayed on videos, with the dislike count to be made private in order to limit misuse of the option, something that I am sure that every creator can relate to.

As explained by YouTube’s Creator Liaison Matt Koval:

“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 just because they don’t like the creator or what they stand for. That’s a big problem when half of YouTube’s mission is to give everyone a voice.”

Earlier this year YouTube ran an experiment where it made dislike counts private in order to examine whether that might have an impact on coordinated dislike attacks:

“As part of this experiment, viewers could still see and use the dislike button, 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. In short, our experiment data showed a reduction in dislike attacking behavior.”

YouTube says that it had spoken to less well known creators and those just starting out that they are often the subject of these brigade attacks, which its examination found to be true. As a result of this YouTube has made the decision to hide these negative counts across the board, with a view to limiting the damage and impact as well as encouraging more participation from more users.

It is an interesting move from YouTube remove the dislike button, if you look at Facebook they have constantly stated that it won’t ever add a dislike option, but it has experimented with downvotes on comments in order to entice direct feedback from users.

You can argue that it is a logical step for the platform, which could have broader implications for public feedback. We’ll have to wait and see what actually happens when it’s launched on a broader scale.