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Misleading post wrongly claims YouTube is removing the ‘dislike’ button

The platform is, however, permanently hiding the ‘dislike’ count after experimenting with that move earlier this year

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Claim: YouTube is removing the ‘dislike’ button from the platform.

Fact: YouTube is making its dislike count private to deter harassment but the dislike button is not going anywhere. After the change comes into place, creators can still view the dislike count for their videos in the YouTube Studio should they wish to.

On 11 November 2021, Pakistan-based media company ‘Metronome’ shared a screenshot of a post by Team YouTube, along with the caption, “YouTube is taking off ‘dislike’ option from the platform. Good news for content creators?”

The post gained significant traction, garnering close to two dozen shares, hundreds of ‘likes’, and more than 60 comments. Other pages also shared the same post and, according to a CrowdTangle analysis, the claim received almost 1,000 interactions.

‘Metronome’, which claims to be “a contemporary media company that focuses on highlighting entertainment, arts, lifestyle, food, pop culture, tech, advertising and Internet’s most buzzing stories,” has grown from a relatively small undertaking to a platform with more than 500,000 page ‘likes’ and one that many people in Pakistan turn to for culture news.

Soch Fact Check found the post by Metronome to be misleading. The screenshot included in the post is authentic and makes clear that it is the dislike count that is being removed and not the dislike button. However, the caption accompanying the image is false and likely to mislead viewers.

On 10 November 2021, YouTube announced it was permanently making its dislike count (the number of dislikes that a video or live stream receives) private.

In a blog post titled ‘An update to dislikes on YouTube,’ the platform’s team said, “The dislike count will be private across YouTube, but the dislike button will remain.” The post referred to an experimental study conducted in July 2021 where “viewers could still see and use the dislike button” but could not see the ‘dislike’ count.

The move, the YouTube Team stated in the post, is intended to “protect our creators from harassment and reduce dislike attacks,” as well as to “create an inclusive and respectful environment.” Smaller content creators and those who were just getting started were being unfairly targeted, the team added.

In a video announcing the change, cinematographer Matt Koval, YouTube’s Head Creator Liaison, said it is “a big problem” when “groups of viewers [start] targeting a video’s Dislike button to drive up the count” and turn it “into something like a game with a visible scoreboard.”

The study carried out by YouTube earlier this year showed that making the dislike count private reduced coordinated ‘dislike’ attacks across the platform, Koval explained. “So, the update from YouTube is that the dislike button is staying but the dislike counts will now be private. You can still dislike videos and that action will be used to tune your own recommendations but you won’t be able to see the dislike count. Only the creator can find it on the backend, if they want.”

Conclusion: YouTube has decided to make the dislike count on videos private to deter targeted attacks against content creators, making permanent a change it experimented with earlier this year. The video-sharing platform is making the dislike counts private for both videos and live streams but creators can still view dislike counts for their videos in their YouTube Studio Analytics should they wish to. The dislike button, however, is not being removed.

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