YouTube is removing the visible dislike count in an effort to combat harassment of content creators.
Likes and dislikes are an important part of YouTube’s platform, playing a role in the algorithms that decide what content gets recommended. Dislikes can be problematic, however, as some creators find themselves on the receiving end of “dislike attacks,” where users try to drive up the number of dislikes, effectively tanking a video. Smaller channels are especially vulnerable to this 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.
To address the issues, YouTube says the dislike button will still be available for people to use, but the number of dislikes will no longer be publicly visible. The count will still be available privately for the content creator to see.
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.