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Speculating on YouTube’s Removal of the Dislike Count

Michael Moreno
Nerd For Tech
Published in
4 min readDec 6, 2021

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As most of you are probably already aware, YouTube recently removed the dislike count. This was done shortly after YouTube had performed an experiment where they hid the dislike count from certain users. One of the observations made was that hiding the dislike count resulted in users clicking the dislike button less.

From their official statement:

because the count was not visible to them [the users], we found that they were less likely to target a video’s dislike button to drive up the count. In short, our experiment data showed a reduction in dislike attacking behavior.

This is a known phenomenon. Generally, visibility of a dislike count causes users to click a dislike button more, which increases the dislike count, which in turn further drives more users to click the dislike button, in a vicious cycle. This is true across the web, it’s not just a problem on YouTube. It’s why certain websites, such as Medium and Twitter don’t have a dislike button.

But all of this begs the question, why does it matter if the dislike count keeps increasing? Why does it have to be hidden? Well, YouTube is framing the removal…

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