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Evan Craighead . Sputnik International
For more than a month, videos uploaded by US President Joe Biden’s White House YouTube page have received an overwhelming number of dislikes. Biden’s inauguration, for example, has been viewed over 1 million times on the White House YouTube page and has presently amassed more than 97,000 dislikes and 16,000 likes.
YouTube announced early Tuesday morning that it would be removing the public dislike counter on certain channels as a “response to creator feedback around well-being and targeted dislike campaigns.”
It’s worth noting that channels already had the option of removing the dislike counter, but the action also removed the visible number of likes.
“If you’re part of this small experiment, you might spot one of these designs in the coming weeks,” YouTube tweeted, including an example of the experimental toolbar.
Creators, you’ll still be able to see the exact number of likes and dislikes in YouTube Studio. For viewers, if you’re in the experiment, you can still like or dislike a video to share feedback with creators and help tune the recommendations you see on YouTube.
— YouTube (@YouTube) March 30, 2021
Almost immediately, YouTube content creators and other netizens rejected the removal of a feedback tool they consider to be useful.
Not showing dislikes is supposed to make targeted dislikes disappear? Dislikes is one of the best forms of feedback, useful for creator, viewer, and algorithms alike. Not showing a dislike count publicly is in my eyes one of the worst decisions possible.
— Parwes ΔΔΔ (@parwesplayz1) March 30, 2021
“We don’t want to remove toxic creators from our platform because they make us money so we’re removing the dislike number in order to pretend like the problem is solved!” https://t.co/6IZ1p0sjeZ
— Drake (@TrailerDrake) March 30, 2021
Which then basically forces the viewer to waste their time watching the video, which then is good for the “content” creator and Youtubes revenue. At the end of the day, it’s about more views = more money.
— Hired_Assassin5 (@Hired_Assassin5) March 30, 2021
When asked how users will be able to know the public response to the video, @TeamYouTube claimed that the platform will “continue to tune recommendations based on likes and dislikes.”
“Viewer feedback is an important part of YouTube, but we’ve heard from creators that the current experience can negatively impact their wellbeing,” @TeamYouTube tweeted. “We also know that public dislike counts sometimes motivate targeted campaigns of dislikes on some videos.”
At the same time, many netizens expressed doubts that it was creators who were behind the feedback change.
BREAKING: YouTube testing removal of DISLIKE counts. Don’t tell me this has nothing to do with Biden! 😮
— 🇺🇸Maggie VandenBerghe🇺🇸 (@FogCityMidge) March 30, 2021
Though the White House YouTube page has undoubtedly taken a hit when it comes to the like-dislike ratio, the netizens’ theory remains unsubstantiated by YouTube or the Biden administration.