YouTube is still considering whether to remove dislikes on videos

The feature allows users to explain how they feel about a video.


For years now, YouTube has been getting progressively worse for YouTubers, as a platform where creators can ply their trade and rely on a mutually beneficial relationship with the giant that they helped create, and continue to help sustain.

But it seems that the bigger YouTube gets – the less interested it is in making creators feel safe, or even welcome on the platform. Is this about short-term arrogance, or long-term stupidity on the part of YouTube? Maybe both? Only time will tell.

In the meantime, a series of “apocalypses” happened over the past few years – policy changes and enforcements brought on by YouTube that ended up, to various degrees, undermining creators' ability to reach audiences and monetize.

One of the issues YouTubers have been keeping an eye on ever since early 2019 has been the platform's idea to remove the dislike button from their videos.

This idea came despite the fact that the number of upvotes and downvotes is a useful metric both to creators as to the performance of their content – and to their audiences. At the same time, critics said, the move to get rid of the dislike button was just a way for YouTube to hide that certain content was unpopular.

At the time, however, YouTube's Director of Project Management Tom Leung broke down the consideration into these components: switching off downvoting altogether; disabling both likes and dislikes by default; asking people to explain why they disliked a video; or, removing the dislike count.

And now, we have an update on how this “war on dislikes” is progressing over at YouTube, thanks to Creator Insider, “an informal YouTube channel” that's meant to “share information from the YouTube creator technical team with the wider creator community.”

For being “informal” as it states to be – this channel sure seems to be pretty well-versed in corporate-speak:

“No big changes imminently – we'll always be experimenting and researching how we can have a better experience for all stakeholders,” said Leung.

And “teams” will also be “evaluating how to make that the best experience for viewers and creators.”

That's a lot of business jargon in several rather short sentences. If you are a YouTube creator whose livelihood depends on this kind of claptrap – do you feel at all reassured by your platform promising to “always be experimenting?”

In any case – this is the best Creator Insider could come up with at this time, in terms of reassuring creators that their lives would not be made any more difficult or complicated on the platform going forward, than they already are.

“Even with this experimentation around this, the goal will always be to (…) improve creator well-being, as well as maintain objectivity on the platform,” added Leung, short on useful details or any actual explanation – but still rich on corporatespeak.


Didi Rankovic

Didi Rankovic is an experienced online journalist, editor, and translator, with a career spanning over ten years writing for major a English-language website in Serbia, and previously working as translator for international organizations and peacekeepers in the Balkans. Rankovic is passionate about free and open source tech and is a head contributor for Reclaim The Net, focusing on lead stories. [email protected]