YouTube is no stranger to experimenting with new features, regardless of whether a proposed update is popular with its users. Its latest test is bound to draw in some negative attention, with major changes in the works for video ratings. In the coming weeks, YouTube will begin experimenting with hiding public dislike counts from view to help prevent harassment campaigns targeted towards creators.
As detailed on the company's support site, the new dislike icon would replace the total number of downvotes with a generic "Dislike" label, while the like button would remain unchanged. These tests don't disable the button's functionality, though. While downvotes are hidden from public view, creators are still given full access to video ratings in YouTube Studio.
👍👎 In response to creator feedback around well-being and targeted dislike campaigns, we're testing a few new designs that don't show the public dislike count. If you're part of this small experiment, you might spot one of these designs in the coming weeks (example below!). pic.twitter.com/aemrIcnrbx
— YouTube (@YouTube) March 30, 2021
It's an understandable move if you're a YouTuber, but one that could end up frustrating viewers. If you've ever tried to search for tutorials on the site, you know all too well how vital the like-to-dislike ratio can be in finding solutions to common questions. If this change is made permanent, it could limit viewers from knowing if a video is low-quality or is filled with false information. Still, targeted harassment is a real problem for many creators, and stopping mass dislikes before they happen is undoubtedly one fix worth trying.
As always, if YouTube places you into the test group, there's no way to opt-out. You can download the latest version of YouTube from the Play Store or over at APK Mirror, though there's no guarantee the new design will show up for you.