YouTube is toying with hiding “dislike” counts on user uploaded videos as a way of putting an end to people targeting unpopular content creators.
“In response to creator feedback around well-being and targeted dislike campaigns, we’re testing a few new designs that don’t show the public dislike count,” YouTube posted in a statement.
The tech giant claimed that some creators would like to see the system get an overhaul in the next few weeks in what they called “this small experiment.”
The present system took the place of YouTube’s old five-star rating system in 2009 when the thumbs up/thumbs down interface became the standard users see today. The dislike button is a familiar tool to help users watch or skip videos. It is used to inform their personal algorithms.
The shift in design is geared toward putting the brakes on a trend called “dislike mobs,” when an online group purposely singles out a video with dislikes.
“No one wants this,” Nerdrotic, a popular YouTuber tweeted, before adding, “Dislikes are helpful for a great many things and this is what puts YouTube above all others.”
YouTube’s director of product management, Tom Leung, in 2019 confirmed that possibilities for stopping “dislike mobs” were being “lightly discussed” within the company.
However, some users speculate the new system has something to do with the Biden administration.
On person on Twitter posted: “Probably because of The White House channel’s epic ratios,” referring to an online situation in which the amount of negative feedback vastly outnumbers the positive.
“So the white house? that account had more dislikes than anyone now,” another user pointed out.
In fact, President Biden’s recent uploads to the platform have been getting swarmed with “dislikes” from users, sometimes attracting nearly ten times as many “dislikes” as “likes.”
The disparity in positive versus negative online feedback has been confusing to the general public who were repeatedly told President Biden received more votes than anyone in history, at around 80 million, in the 2020 election.
The official Biden White House’s autoplay video has received a ratio of 290 up votes, or “likes,” to 2,400 down votes, or “dislikes.”
The video of Biden’s statements on Monday concerning masks and lockdowns received 321 thumbs up compared with 2,000 thumbs down.
Another video featuring Vice President Kamala Harris attracted 279 up votes and 1,000 down. One of Press Secretary Jen Psaki’s briefings received 389 up to 1,100 down votes as of Wednesday. Even Dr. Anthony Fauci isn’t safe from the down voting. One video pulled in a disastrous 208 up votes to 6,000 down.
Two other recent videos that focus on Biden specifically didn’t fare much better: 173 up to 2,200 down and 458 up to 4,300 down.
Even the president’s acceptance speech seems to have already had the dislike option removed.
Creators will still be allowed, for now, to view the amount of dislikes they acquire on any given video by resorting to their in-house analytics.
YouTube has not yet confirmed how many creators would be testing the video platform’s new design and has not yet responded to requests for comment.