To prevent excessive abuse of the dislike button, YouTube is testing ways to prevent “dislike mobs” from attacking videos.
Project management director Tom Leung posted an update video that says YouTube is discussing ways to will make it harder for videos to be disliked. These talks could lead to a number of things. It could lead to YouTube turning off rating counts by default and requiring an explanation for a dislike. And, for an even more extreme solution, YouTube’s discussing if it should remove dislikes completely.
But there are tons of drawbacks to those solutions
YouTube expects that those solutions will bring drawbacks. For instance, if dislikes required an explanation, it would be extremely hard to sort through all the explanations. Plus, imagine the reaction to YouTube removing a dislike from a video because it deems it as an unreasonable dislike. It wouldn’t be democratic at all.
Leung stresses that YouTube is still in the early talks on this topic. He also encourages creators to give feedback if they believe they have a more effective solution to the “dislike mob.” From Leung’s video, we can see that YouTube doesn’t have a solution to the problem right now. Even he was skeptical at YouTube’s solutions.
Why is YouTube doing this?
YouTube’s efforts to fight back against mobs come after they set the record for the most disliked video in the platform’s history. That honor goes to YouTube Rewind 2018. The video represents a clear split between YouTube and its community. The advertiser-friendly video has been widely criticized for excluding trends and events that YouTube creators and users believed were the highlights of the year.
While there are YouTubers who have problems with users just hating their videos to have something to hate, it’s highly possible YouTube is tackling this issue more forcefully because of the reactions to this year’s YouTube Rewind. They experienced a massive wave of dislikes, but it’s debatable whether that wave would be considered a “dislike mob.”
Whatever YouTube decides to do, or not to do, there will be backlash. If they choose to hinder the dislike button, like hiding the like and dislike ratio, creators with high like ratios will suffer because their videos may not do as well if people can’t see it’s being liked a lot. But if YouTube doesn’t do anything, some videos may continue to be attacked without real justification.