YouTube seems to have made up its mind, hiding the dislike count among a few videos.
Tom Leung, a YouTube Product Manager, posted a video in which he discussed how to cope with the Dislike button. He introduced a variety of solutions to combat inappropriate use of the Dislike button at the time, ranging from requiring consumers to have a justification before their dislike is accepted to completely deleting the button.
The company revealed the experiments on Twitter, but clarifies in a group forum article that the aim isn’t to eliminate the opportunity for viewers to dislike a video. Developers would still have access to the video’s like and dislike count from YouTube Studio, and dislikes will continue to fuel YouTube’s recommendation algorithms.
👍👎 In response to creator feedback around well-being and targeted dislike campaigns, we're testing a few new designs that don't show the public dislike count. If you're part of this small experiment, you might spot one of these designs in the coming weeks (example below!). pic.twitter.com/aemrIcnrbx
— YouTube (@YouTube) March 30, 2021
It’s close to Instagram’s experiment of removing public like counts, which it’s also fine-tuning about a year later based on user reviews. Instagram has recently started testing a new feature that allows users to select whether or not to view public like counts in their posts, with their posts otherwise displaying a non-numeric predictor of post likes.
When using the Like and Dislike buttons on YouTube, there can be a sense of mob mentality. However, having the dislike count will aid in alerting others to videos that are clickbait, spam, or deceptive, which can be useful.