Co-Founder of YouTube Dislikes Google’s Decision to Make Dislike Count Private; I Like It

The following is an excerpt from a statement issued by YouTube on November 11, 2021:

“… earlier this year, YouTube experimented with the dislike button to see whether or not changes could help better protect its creators from harassment, and reduce dislike attacks — where people work to drive up the number of dislikes on a creator’s videos.

As part of this experiment, viewers could still see and use the dislike button. 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. In short, our experiment data showed a reduction in dislike attacking behavior. 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.

Based on what we learned, we’re making the dislike counts private across YouTube, but the dislike button is not going away. This change will start gradually rolling out today.

Creators will still be able to find their exact dislike counts in YouTube Studio, along with other existing metrics, if they would like to understand how their content is performing.

Viewers can still dislike videos to tune their recommendations and privately share feedback with creators.”

Jawed Karim, who co-founded YouTube in 2005 with Chad Hurley and Steve Chen, and the creator of the first YouTube video, (published April 23, 2005), was not happy with the decision.

Karim voiced his dislike by editing the description associated with that first video. Among his comments are the following:

  • … there exists not a single YouTube Creator who thinks removing dislikes is a good idea — for YouTube or for Creators.
  • Why would YouTube make this universally disliked change?
  • 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. And for that to happen, the stuff that’s not great has to fall by the side as quickly as possible.
  • The process works, and there’s a name for it: the wisdom of the crowds.
  • Does YouTube want to become a place where everything is mediocre? Because nothing can be great if nothing is bad.

I agree that there is a lot of nonsense on YouTube (as well as  WordPress), and I do believe in the wisdom of the crowd, That’s why I don’t see a problem with this decision by YouTube.

If I were trying to decide between which of the following two videos to watch:

  • Video A – has 10 million likes and 50,000 dislikes
  • Video B – has 500 likes and 0 dislikes

I would go with video A.

Karim notes that the goal of the platform is to help identify great content. I think that’s what the like button does. A video with 10 million likes must have something going for it. I also have a sense that the number of dislikes is often driven by reasons other than the quality of the video.

So if the data shows that publicly displaying the count of dislikes may cause problems for some creators, but does not really help to identify great content, then what purpose does it serve?

I just thank the people at WordPress for not even having a dislike button, let alone not displaying a public count of the number of dislikes a post gets. That might be something that could bring an end to my blogging days.

But on the other hand, given my love of WP stats, I might take some perverse delight in getting a high number of dislikes. It could be a way to get more people to read my posts, to figure out why they get so many dislikes…

By the way, here is that first YouTube video:

*image from YouTube

64 thoughts on “Co-Founder of YouTube Dislikes Google’s Decision to Make Dislike Count Private; I Like It

  1. I dislike the dislike button. I am sometimes offended on the creator’s behalf when I see dislikes on their videos, especially when there is no expression of what it is that they disliked. I wish they got rid if it completely. WHen I don’t like something, I just move on and don’t come back to it.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. That’s crazy that that’s the first YouTube video! I feel lucky to be part of an era where so many technological advances have taken place… Before reading your article, I felt like the dislike button served no purpose.. Like what’s the point of putting someone down? But further reading, I guess it does work itself into the algorithms of YouTube (I mean of course it does, it’s YouTube) so I do get it.. It’s like weeding out weak… I’m torn… Like you, I’m glad there’s no dislike button on WP 🤣

    Liked by 1 person

  3. When you press the “Like” button on WP, your avatar displays in a row of avatars. I’d be for a “dislike” button if we had a separate row of avatars for those who disliked the post. That way, everything’s out in the open, and we know who to get mad at.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I don’t think I’ve ever hit the dislike on a YouTube video. My move is to quit watching and move on. I admit that when I see a video with a large percentage of dislikes to likes, it’s usually terrible.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I disagree with this decision. I love all those comments that say “who are the 50,000 who disliked this – they must have no soul!” I think the count can be informative, but I’ll continue hitting the dislike button for the many execrable cover versions I come across on there, as I’d like the creator to know that I think they’re crap. Where’s the dislike button for that first video? It must be one of the most boring ever posted!

    And I am also glad we don’t get dislike buttons on our blog posts, not that this would affect me, of course 😂

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I do like reading such comments, but I could easily do without them. You’ll still be able to hit that dislike button and let the creator know what you think, it’s just that the rest of the world will not.

      Of course your blog would never have to worry about whether there is a dislike button or not, unless a Trump or Johnson supporter came across it one day… 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I don’t often comment on YouTube, and it’s usually positive. I make more use of the buttons there.

        Seemed a fair assumption. They certainly don’t possess the power of logical thought…

        Liked by 1 person

      2. It’s curiosity. I watch a lot, so they give me lots of recommendations. I try quite a few as that is how I’ve found people like Caroline Jones. Not all of the recommendations are good, though!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I like finding music that is new to me, and it is worth wading through some dross to find it. Thinking of what I’ve shared on the blog, finds have included Foxes and Fossils, Carolina Story, the German band Faun, the Russians Otava Yo, and several more that I haven’t yet featured. At least one will be appearing in the Advent Calendar, so I don’t have to keep sharing the same songs as previous years. I found the Hayde Bluegrass Orchestra – who appeared on Saturday – via a YouTube recommendation. Some of their suggestions are spot on!

        Liked by 1 person

  6. My parents taught us that if you do not have something nice to push, don’t push anything at all. People who dislike a video always have the option to not push the “like” button. Is that not enough of a statement? Do we really need something to more vehemently show our displeasure? I think getting rid of the public counter is a good compromise. You can still sow your hate, but you don’t get to decide for everyone else by driving content off the page.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. i completely agree with brad, just move on if you don’t like a video, so many out there to find that may be more to your liking. i’m not into the dislike button as i sometimes feel it’s a ‘jump on the bully bandwagon’ move, or a concerted effort on some group’s part. like tv, wp, books, and any media or art, we are free not to look, watch, respond or read something if we dislike it, and we are lucky for that

    Liked by 1 person

  8. The wisdom of the crowd may work if the crowd is actually wise but is can also just become a mob mentality. That being said, a dislike button is much better than all the nasty mean comments the anonymous public like to toss around.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. usually, neither one is productive. but a well reasoned criticism can be helpful to the creator as well as a potential user. similar to a yelo review. a negative one can be helpful. simply hitting the dislike button is taking the easy way out.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I see the dislike button akin to being able to offer one or two star reviews on Amazon. Having received a couple of two star reviews, I can attest to the fact that’s it’s pretty upsetting to be on the receiving end, but I wouldn’t want Amazon to eliminate the options. Without dislikes on YouTube, how will people know if content is worth their time?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I just think the like button can serve as an indicator of whether something is worth your time, better than a dislike button can.

      I think a written review is much more helpful than just hitting a dislike button or one star.

      In addition, on Amazon, you are thinking about making a purchase decision. That seems worth investing the time to get a bit more informed on as opposed to whether to watch a video or not. If a video is bad, no big deal, you just stop watching it If you make a bad purchase decision, that’s a hassle…

      Liked by 1 person

    1. “meh” would fit this generation well! It drove me crazy when my kids would respond to questions with “meh”! My son did it the most. “How was school? “meh”, How was work? “meh”
      Trust me my I have …”smacked my head”… plenty before blogging!

      Liked by 2 people

  10. Thanks for sharing the first YouTube video – history in the making!

    I’m not a fan of the dislike button, my view if I don’t like something that much I will just click off so no engagement.

    However, I was active on a site called newgrounds.com around 2001, where you could submit flash animations and games. Viewers could then score from 1 to 5 and after receiving so many votes it could be deleted if it scored under a certain amount.

    Alas my only submission a crime noir animation was only on a score of 2.2 out of 5, but enough to stay hidden in the background of the site.

    It was eventually removed a couple of years ago due to a greater power than viewer feedback – copyright infringement! It featured a small loop of a Muse song.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. So happy your post ended on a wordpress note jim….always make me chuckle. For me, if I don’t like something, I just move on….. only read a select few blogs on w’press, your blathering is always a fave. Cheers laddie!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I’m in agreeance with those who just move on as that was the way I was also raised so I wouldn’t use the dislike button but wouldn’t press the like either if I didn’t like it…as for one on WP ..again some blogs I have no interest in as it’s not a favoured genre of mine but it doesn’t mean to say I would press a dislike button…I’d like a haha button as sometimes a blog makes me smile and deserves a happy face rather than just a like but then it could make people lazy and not comment…plus I like the comments so maybe just leave things as they are 🙂 x

    Liked by 1 person

  13. More harmful, I think, than the dislike button is the ridiculously negative comments that are left and often have nothing to do with the video at all. They should be blocked. Like spam comments are on our blogs.

    Liked by 1 person

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