So, not too long ago, YouTube removed the dislike counter. It’s a bit of an issue as there aren’t many positives for that. Now, if you dislike a video, you can essentially just leave a comment to express your opinion – but the issue with that is that content creators can just remove your comment in the process to create this fake image of everyone liking it. Yes, you can still technically dislike a video but it won’t show up on the actual counter. Some of the most disliked videos on YouTube remain at multiple thousands of likes… but the millions of dislikes they received are invisible now. (I know that there’s an extension being made that “brings it back” but it’s not exactly the same.)
That in itself is problematic for a plethora of reasons but my main issue is that the dislike to like ratio was often an indicator of quality or potentially harmful content. There are channels on YouTube that show animal cruelty while still being “technically okay” as it’s “for science”. Videos of cruel rat traps, for instance, or living animals being eaten, etc. There was this one YouTuber, for instance, who had a really young audience at the time (and still does?) who essentially filmed a dead body in some Japanese suicide forest. This was not only disturbing but also incredibly disrespectful. Because of the many dislikes that that video had, people would actively click off it… I’d say. At least, I’d dislike that video if I happened to see it. His apology to it received millions of dislikes which was massive compared to the thousands of likes he had at one point… but now that you can’t see it, it just seems as if he’s an okay guy who clearly improved. Yup. Nope. Not at all.
Platforms like WordPress don’t have a dislike button and while you can express your views in a comment, it can still get removed by me if I don’t like what you say. Both YouTube and WordPress are being used to express opinions or to create content – but YouTube’s dislike button made it a bit more unique, I’d say. Removing that button is a stupid decision that practically harms the platform and its users. But WordPress has the benefit that you can still reply to someone in a blog post of your own. If I wanted to drag Frostilyte (who btw has an amazing cat) by his nuts through the mud, I could do that in a post and Frosti wouldn’t be able to remove it. Frosti would then be able to do return the favour and insult me if that’s his jam… but the Blogosphere isn’t all that drama-oriented anyway, so it doesn’t matter. Factually, I could express my views in a comment and most people would leave those up. I could insult someone in the comments, and they’d remove or edit it. They can do the same. It’s all good here. YouTube? Nah. There are even YouTubers that have certain terms like “clickbait” blocked. On your end, it looks like your comment was published. In reality, however, it doesn’t show up and nobody sees it. When someone clickbaits the shit out of their videos, you can’t dislike the video. Instead, you can leave a comment that gets removed or isn’t getting published. Creators on YouTube can do as they want because advertisers don’t like dislikes and YouTube wants to make more money.
Twitter at its core is a social network that doesn’t necessarily need a dislike button. You can either like a tweet or move on. Most people that dislike something on Twitter will go ahead and reply to the tweet or quote-tweet it to express their views. The other day someone replied to my tweet about one of my recent reviews that their NFT is in the game… and I disliked that, so I asked them to remove the tweet. They complied. They didn’t have to but luckily they did. I don’t have the power to remove a reply I don’t like – but I can report it in theory. Facebook and Instagram also have no dislike buttons but you can add replies and also (just like on Twitter) “ratio” to someone in the comments. Reddit self-governs itself seemingly by making comments and posts with lots of downvotes seemingly invisible while posts with lots of upvotes get even moved up in the algorithm or potentially promoted to new users.
What I’m getting at is that the dislike button on YouTube made the platform somewhat unique. Dislikes couldn’t get removed. Yes, you could dislike-bomb a video but you could also like-bomb a video with bot accounts, etc. Usually, however, most dislikes expressed that a video was genuinely bad and that a lot of people dislike it. The YouTube channel of the German “news” magazine “BILD” barely receives any likes but used to get bombarded with dislikes. Why? Well, because the BILD magazine is an outlet that radicalizes everything. They break taboos like showing the deceased’s pictures without pixelating them. They spread fake news and hate speech at times. They have no moral compass,… like a rat. Point is, they may still only receive a few hundred likes on their videos but the thousands of dislikes they get for spreading fake news, especially during the pandemic, are gone. Nobody will see them. People might watch their videos and think that kids don’t need to get vaccinated. The dislike to like ratio usually would have stopped some people from watching them.
At last, Skooch – who’s a YouTuber I watch quite often lately – published a video where he talked about this topic as well. It’s quite short and well-edited and he lists a bunch of somewhat relevant examples of huge dislike counts being gone… and I agree with his opinions in that video, so I’d recommend checking that out. What do you think? Is removing the dislike feature a good thing or a bad thing? Would you disagree with what I said? Do you agree? Let me know!