YouTube removes dislike count from videos to protect creators from harassment

Hands holding a phone with the YouTube logo
Viewers will still be able to click on the dislike button to register unhappiness, though. Photo credit: Getty Images

YouTube has started removing the dislike count from videos to help protect creators from harassment, the company has announced.

The video streaming platform made the move after experimenting earlier this year to see whether changes could reduce 'dislike attacks', where people deliberately drive up the number of dislikes on videos.

"As part of this experiment, viewers could still see and use the dislike button," the company said.

"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.

"We also heard directly from smaller creators and those just getting started that they are unfairly targeted by this behavior - and our experiment confirmed that this does occur at a higher proportion on smaller channels.

The dislike button is going nowhere despite the change, with viewers still able to register their unhappiness with the video. However, the count will be made available only to the creators along with their other video metrics.

The company recognised not everyone would be happy with the change, as the public dislike count can be used to help decide whether to watch the video, but "believe that this is the right thing to do for the platform".

"At YouTube, we strive to be a place where creators of all sizes and backgrounds can find and share their voice," it said, saying it was just one of "many" steps it was taking to protect creators from harassment.

"We want to create an inclusive and respectful environment where creators have the opportunity to succeed and feel safe to express themselves."

Ironically, the most downvoted video in YouTube history is a video uploaded by the company themselves - called YouTube Rewind 2018.

Since its debut in December of that year, it has attracted 220 million views, with over 19 million dislikes.

It overtook Justin Bieber's song 'Baby', which took eight years to get 10 million dislikes, in just eight days, The Verge reported.