To be fair, the incredible growth of the Internet and social media, in particular, has changed its feel over the years. Those of us older can remember when the web was a rather quirky and surprisingly friendly place, but its all-encompassing presence in modern life now leaves websites and social media networks struggling to cope with all sorts of factors. How do you support "free speech" but still protect people from harassment and prejudice? How do you encourage honest feedback, but at the same time shut down the barrage of viral comments and ongoing no-vote campaigns?
The video on YouTube confirms that it will solve part of the challenge by hiding the "number of times" you don't like in a video, which is rolling out gradually from today. The button will still be there, disliked content will still affect your recommendations (it may have some impact on the site's algorithm, but that's just our guess), but the count won't be shown to the public. However, developers will still be able to see it in their analytics if they want data feedback. If you're feeling cynical, hiding this data from public view might also allow YouTube to sell it to outside marketers in the future.
Of course, we've seen disgust "weaponized" a lot in games. We mentioned in the title that the ongoing campaign, which saw the Nintendo Switch Online video get a lot of backlashes, has reached a new level with the release of the expansion pack's overview trailer. Also, in a humorous oversight, YouTube's video confirmed the change, initially publicly showing its fairly high dislike count.
However, it's worth noting that there's a legitimate reason for hiding the number of downvotes and dislike buttons, as it's indisputable that they've been used in seriously hurtful and toxic ways online. The anonymity of these vote buttons allows people to attack and harass content creators based on race, gender, gender, politics, and other factors. The visible count is removed to avoid aggressive and potentially harmful activities using the measure.
Of course, there will be many different opinions on this issue — is it also worth giving up "like" counting, for example, and making "voting" a way to manage your recommendations and more? Needless to say, there is no simple option that will please everyone.