SAN BRUNO, CA – On Tuesday, Google-owned YouTube announced that in response to creator feedback over well-being and “targeted dislike campaigns” they are actively testing several new layout designs that, among other features, which would or might in some cases modify the number of “dislikes” a video has received making some of them hidden from public view.
The company is currently conducting an “experiment” where select users – who are unable to opt out – may run into one of the proposed new designs, at which point they are encouraged to share their feedback about it. However, while these new designs will omit the number of dislikes a given video has accumulated, the button – and the ability – to “dislike” a video will remain, since the number of dislikes a video has assists with the YouTube’s “recommended videos” algorithm and helps to identify inappropriate or spam videos.
Some conservative online commentators have used YouTube’s announcement to allege that the “actual” reason behind the debacle is due to the high dislike-to-like ratio that most of the videos on the Biden White House’s Official YouTube page currently have, with one Twitter user providing several screenshots of Biden video like/dislike counts while saying “Gee I wonder why YouTube is trying to get rid of the dislike feature” and another tweeting “BREAKING: YouTube testing removal of DISLIKE counts. Don’t tell me this has nothing to do with Biden!”
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In contrast, YouTube reps noted that the decision to potentially do away with publicly-displayed dislikes for user content actually came from the site’s users themselves, saying that at times certain videos can be targeted by online “mobs” who will artificially inflate the dislike count as a form of harassment.
However, the majority of responses to YouTube’s proposed change, both on their community forum and on Twitter, have been overall very negative, with one forum user saying “Completely unnecessary. If I watch a video over how to repair something, I use the dislike counter to determine if a person knows what they are actually talking about or wasting my time.”