YouTube hides “dislikes” counts to protect creators from harassment and targeted attacks

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YouTube announced on Wednesday that the list of “dislike” clicks on videos will no longer be visible to the public to protect YouTubers from harassment and targeted attacks.

A public count of likes – or dislikes – that social media posts pile up is regularly labeled as harmful by critics, and Facebook as well as Instagram have given users the option to unsubscribe.

Users of Google’s own video-sharing platform can still click the “Decline” button under a clip, but will no longer see the number of negative reviews.

“To ensure that YouTube encourages respectful interactions between viewers and YouTubers, we experimented with the Decline button to see if changes could better protect our YouTubers from harassment and reduce aversion attacks,” said a statement from YouTube.

“Our experimental data showed a reduction in aversion to attack behavior.”

Content creators – the social media stars who draw crowds online – can see the number of thumbs-down icons their clips produce.

YouTube said smaller or new YouTubers reported being attacked unfairly in attacks where people are working to increase the number of dislikes about videos.

The changes at YouTube are due to the fact that major social networks and video platforms are often accused by lawmakers, regulators and watchdogs for not doing enough about online harassment.

Facebook is grappling with one of its worst reputational crises of all time, sparked by leaked internal documents showing executives knew about the potential harm to their platforms.

The revelations from former Facebook employee Frances Haugen’s leaks have given new impetus to discussions about regulating big tech companies.

Concerns about the possible harm of Facebook have spread to other platforms, with TikTok, Snapchat and YouTube trying to convince US senators in a hearing last month that they are safe for their young users.

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