YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki published a letter to discuss the company’s priorities, and addressed the controversial dislike removal.
In November 2021, YouTube removed the public dislike count from all of its videos. While creators can still see the number of dislikes within YouTube Studio, viewers can now only see how many likes a video has received.
The change was controversial. Now, a couple of months later, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki has addressed that change within a letter that discusses the company’s priorities for 2022.
Why Did YouTube Hide Dislikes?
No matter your device, no matter the video, you can’t see dislikes on YouTube. While the count is still tracked in the backend, and disliking a video will inform your video recommendations, you won’t know how many other people have disliked a video.
At the time, YouTube’s reason for hiding dislikes was because it claimed there was an increase in creators who were being unfairly targeted by dislikes.
On January 25, 2022, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki published a letter on the YouTube Blog to address the company’s plans for 2022.
Within it, she acknowledged that the reaction to removing dislikes was controversial. Wojcicki states that judging a video on its dislikes was never an accurate way to decide what to watch, which is why YouTube never showed them on the homepage, search results, or Up Next screens.
She also reiterated the company’s stance for why it removed dislikes:
We also saw the dislike count harming parts of our ecosystem through dislike attacks as people actively worked to drive up the number of dislikes on a creator’s videos. These attacks often targeted smaller creators and those just getting started. We want every creator to feel they can express themselves without harassment.
Wojcicki goes on to state that, while experimenting with this change, YouTube didn’t see any meaningful difference in viewership whether there was a public dislike count or not.
While that may be true, that doesn’t consider viewer experience. Sure, the video may track the view, but did the viewer feel the content was worthy? Did they watch it longer than they would have if they could see the dislikes? Did they appreciate other people’s reaction to the video? A public dislike count fulfilled many purposes.
Regardless, it seems YouTube has no sign of reversing this change.
Could We See YouTube NFTs?
It’s worth reading the rest of Wojcicki’s letter to get a sense of where the streaming platform is heading. Including, in what is sure to be another controversial decision, the potential move into NFTs.
NFTs are controversial for so many reasons. Their links to money laundering are just another problem, but it’s the same as regular art, no?
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