Ever since we’ve been using YouTube, we’ve always been able to like and dislike each video. As of last month, the Google-owned company has decided to disable all the dislike counts on each of the videos shared on its platform. Cyberbullying and trolling is the probable cause. We have all seen how toxic comments can get, even under helpful videos explaining business features like Cox bill pay. Of course, this came as a surprise for a lot of its users, let’s dive into the reasons why the company updated its policy.
Why Are Dislikes Becoming Invisible?
The officials at YouTube stated that their new update is an attempt to curb harassment that a lot of its users face online. The company says the change is a new method to protect smaller creators from online bullying and hate and to promote a positive interactive environment between its users. Don’t worry though, the dislike button will still be there.
It seems YouTube “experimented with the dislike button” to help protect content creators and users from harassment. That includes reducing dislike attacks. According to YouTube, this happens when “people work to drive up the number of dislikes on a creator’s videos.” YouTube confirmed the news on their latest blog.
Society Is Losing Patience for Trolls and Bullies
With national news hitting the circuit of the senate hearings against some of the most powerful tech giants in America, almost all social media outlets are taking a stand against the surge of cyberbullying and harassment against its users. YouTube claims to have tried understanding the dislike trends on its platform.
The platform wanted to judge whether most users would target smaller creators for their content by disliking videos. Through interactions and also surveys amongst the smaller creators, the platform acquired direct information on these concerns.
Apparently, the YouTube team decided that all viewers can still dislike videos. But users will not be able to see the count. Creators, on the other hand, have private access to their contents dislike count. But only to have a better idea of their content’s popularity.
Could There Be More to It?
When it comes to watching online content, nobody can top YouTube. A lot of its users have used the like and dislike ratio before watching something. It usually serves as a means to determine whether the video is worth a watch or not. This works a lot better for users who are viewing content created by smaller creators to gauge whether the content may be helpful or not. If you’re watching a tutorial video then the like to dislike ratio would let you know beforehand whether the content is worth your while.
Flamboyant titles for online content always attract viewers. However, with only the like count available to the viewer, it paints a very incomplete picture. Imagine viewing a product on Amazon where they only show you the 5-star reviews and hide all the rest. It’s a very self-defeating exercise that doesn’t allow users to identify the value of content beforehand.
“YouTube is only doing this to protect large companies that don’t want to face any online backlash”, says Harry, an online creator who is against this decision.
How Users Are Reacting
Many users have used their platforms to speak out against this policy saying that this decision is silencing the viewers. A lot of them have even threatened to cancel their subscriptions to YouTube’s premium account, “I was excited to hear about the new ad-free YouTube and I subscribed to their premium account. But since they’re going against viewer demands I think I’ll cancel my subscription” – said a disgruntled user who’s not happy with the new changes.
Other social media outlets like Meta’s Instagram have also adopted similar changes by allowing users to hide their likes count on their posts. This is due to the pressure that many users faced while uploading their pictures on whether it’ll be ‘good enough. However, this option is left at the discretion of the user and not incumbent upon all users.
Why Was the Counter Even There?
YouTube started off its platform by offering its users access to the number of likes and dislikes in a video. This allowed users to share their views with the rest of the online community through the number of their likes and dislikes and even through their comments. This is valuable feedback for users who don’t want to waste time on a video that isn’t going to be of any help or use to them.
YouTube’s new changes have caused an online uproar. Sooner or later, they’ll have to address this issue more directly and transparently. It is important to offer a better experience to their users.