YouTube co-founder blasts decision to remove public dislike count from videos

A phone with the YouTube logo on a computer keyboard
"Nothing can be great if nothing is bad." Photo credit: Getty Images

YouTube co-founder Jawed Karim has condemned the platform's decision to remove the public dislike count from videos in a strongly-worded rant.

The video service announced last week it was taking the information off to help protect creators from harassment, but acknowledged it might not be popular, saying it believed "this is the right thing to do for the platform".

But Karim said the move could end up with YouTube's decline, wondering whether it wanted to become a place where everything was mediocre.

The software engineer posted his comments by editing the description of his own 'Me at the zoo' video, the very first to be loaded on the platform in April 2005.

"I have never seen a less enthusiastic, more reluctant announcement of something that is supposed to be great," he wrote.

"Why would YouTube make this universally disliked change? The ability to easily and quickly identify bad content is an essential feature of a user-generated content platform.

"Why? Because not all user-generated content is good. It can't be. In fact, most of it is not good. And that's OK. The idea was never that all content is good. The idea WAS, however, that among the flood of content, there are great creations waiting to be exposed."

When the platform interferes and ignores the "wisdom of the crowd" the process breaks, Karim said, causing mediocrity.

"Nothing can be great if nothing is bad," he concluded.

This isn't the first time Karim has edited the video, which has been viewed over 202 million times, to criticise the company.

In 2013 Google, which owns the platform, started requiring YouTube members to use Google+, its poorly received social network, to comment on videos.

Karim was unimpressed, writing "why the f**k do I need a Google+ account to comment on a video" and "I can't comment here anymore, since I don't want a Google+ account".