YouTube is making a few changes to its platform in an effort to protect creators by hiding the dislike count on videos.
On Wednesday, the video-sharing service began rolling out a new feature that keeps counts private and visible only to the person who uploaded the video.
The actual dislike button, however, will remain, and viewers may still dislike a video to adjust their personal recommendations.
The updated feature was prompted by a YouTube experiment conducted earlier this year to see if changes to the dislike button could help protect content creators from harassment and “dislike attacks”, where viewers deliberately dislike a video to increase the number.
The site’s researchers found that if the dislike count is masked, viewers were “less likely to target a video’s dislike button to increase the count,” a press release said.
“In short, data from our experiment showed a reduction in anti-aversion attack behavior. We also heard directly from smaller creators and those just starting out that they are being unfairly targeted by this behavior – and our experiment has confirmed that this occurs in a higher proportion on smaller creator channels,” the statement read.
YouTube creator liaison Matt Koval said in a video that the company hopes hiding the count from the public will be less of a stressor for the creator.
“I’ve always thought that seeing the number of dislikes on a video helps us as viewers know if it’s a good video or not, if it’s a useful tutorial or not, or if what a creator says in his video is generally accepted with it or not. But unfortunately, YouTube’s research teams have discovered that there’s a whole other use to disliking a video that I’ve never seen as creator and maybe you don’t either,” Koval said.
“Apparently groups of users target the dislike button on a video to increase the number. Turn it into something like a game with a visible dashboard. And that’s usually just because they don’t don’t like the creator or what they represent. That’s a big deal when half of YouTube’s mission is to give everyone a voice.”
If a creator wants to see their dislike, they can see it in YouTube Stuido.