YouTube testing with hiding dislikes on creators’ videos to protect their well-being
The entire likes and dislikes statistics are still going to be available on YouTube Studio though for the creators to keep a tab on.
YouTube is experimenting with hiding ‘dislikes' on creators' videos to discourage “dislike mobs” from “deliberately downvoting videos” from channels and creators. This particular experiment is slightly different from other solutions YouTube had previously thought of to stop dislike mobs from pulling a video down, but it is similar to the attempts other platforms like Instagram has made to stop these targeted attacks from the go.
As YouTube has announced, under the experimental setup, stats for both likes and dislikes are going to be visible on the creator/channel's individual YouTube Studio page. However, only the likes will be displayed publicly on the video.
Creators, you'll still be able to see the exact number of likes and dislikes in YouTube Studio. For viewers, if you're in the experiment, you can still like or dislike a video to share feedback with creators and help tune the recommendations you see on YouTube.— YouTube (@YouTube) March 30, 2021
YouTube explained in an article that dislikes can negatively impact a creator's well-being and can motivate targeted dislike campaigns on their videos. The idea is that for the dislike mob, to see the number of dislikes and being able to watch it go up is enough motivation to join in and add to it.
Creators do rely on these likes and dislikes as a form of feedback to guide their work, however, targeted attacks can easily turn this useful feature into something that is abusive.
Initially when YouTube announced that it was looking to address this targeted dislike issue, they had thought of three ideas - hiding the number of likes and dislikes both, adding more interaction before you can dislike something and removing likes and dislikes entirely.
This current test does half of the first idea and it makes sense of sorts. Since the number of dislikes are a problem, it does make sense to hide that. This is similar to Instagram testing on whether it should hide the number of likes on a post.
As The Verge points out, likes are inherently positive, but chasing high like counts can have its own negative impact.
For now, YouTube is not testing hiding dislikes on all creators' videos, but if you spot it on your pade and have an opinion about it, you can let YouTube know your feedback here.