YouTube hides ‘dislike’ counts to discourage online harassment

  • Content creators will be able to see the total number of dislikes, but the public will not
  • Social media sites, including Facebook, Instagram and TikTok, have recently come under fire for their lasting impact on mental health
Agence France-Presse |

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In an effort to cut down on cyberbullying, YouTube announced it will hide the number of “dislikes” a video has. Photo: Shutterstock

YouTube announced on Wednesday that the total number of “dislikes” on a video will no longer be visible to the public, to protect creators from harassment and targeted attacks.

A public count of likes and dislikes that social media posts rack up has been cited by critics as harmful to a person’s well-being, and sites like Facebook and Instagram have begun allowing users to opt out.

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From now on, viewers will still be able to click on the “dislike” button below a clip, but they will no longer see the negative review count.

“To ensure that YouTube promotes respectful interactions between viewers and creators … we experimented with the dislike button to see whether changes could help better protect our creators from harassment,” YouTube said in a statement.

“Our experiment data showed a reduction in dislike attacking behaviour.”

Trolls and bullies may use “dislike attacks” to harass content creators on YouTube. Photo: Shutterstock

Content creators will still be able to see the number of thumbs-down icons their clips earn, but the public will not be able to see them.

According to YouTube, small scale and new creators reported being unfairly targeted in attacks, where people work to drive up the number of dislikes on videos.

The changes at YouTube come as major social networks and video platforms have been frequently accused by lawmakers, regulators and watchdogs of not doing enough to fight online harassment.

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Facebook is battling one of its most serious reputational crises ever, driven by leaked internal documents showing executives knew of the potential harm of their platforms.

The revelations from the leaks by former Facebook employee Frances Haugen have reignited the conversation around regulating Big Tech companies.

This worry has spilled over to other platforms, with TikTok, Snapchat and YouTube trying to convince US senators in a hearing last month that they were safe for young users.

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