YouTube is making some changes to its platform in an effort to protect creators by hiding dislike counts on videos.
On Wednesday, the video-sharing service began rolling out a new feature that keeps the counts private and only viewable to the person who uploaded the video.
The actual dislike button, however, will remain and viewers can still dislike a video to tune their personal recommendations.
The updated feature was sparked by an experiment YouTube conducted earlier this year to see whether changes to the dislike button could help protect content creators from harassment and "dislike attacks," where viewers purposely dislike a video to drive up the count.
Researchers at the site found that if the dislike count is hidden viewers were "less likely to target a video’s dislike button to drive up the count," a press release states.
"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," the release says.
YouTube creator liaison Matt Koval said in a video the company hopes that hiding the count from the public will be less of a stressor for the creator.
"I've always thought seeing the number of dislikes on a video helps us know, as viewers, if it's a good video or not, if it's a helpful tutorial or not, or if what a creator is saying in their video is generally agreed with or not. But unfortunately, research teams at YouTube have found there's this whole other use for disliking a video that I've never experienced as a creator and you may not have either," Koval said.
"Apparently, groups of users are targeting a video's dislike button to drive up the count. Turning it into something like a game with a visible scoreboard. And it's usually just because they don't like the creator or what they stand for. That's a big problem when half of YouTube's mission is to give everyone a voice."
If a creator wants to see their dislike counts, they can view them in YouTube Stuido.
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