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Is Youtube Hiding Dislike Count an attempt to cancel “Cancel Culture”?


While it’s still unclear whether YouTube will stick to its decision to hide the long-term aversion tally, the Alphabet-owned platform is currently restricting the abuse of the aversion button on videos. Creators and brands who have often faced the wrath of users on the platform, can now breathe a little easier.

The creative community, however, is divided. Some are enjoying the move while others have taken to various social media platforms to criticize and hate YouTube’s decision to hide the counts from Dislike. But brands and agencies in India are eagerly awaiting the change.

According to advertising executives Storyboard18 spoke with, the Dislike button has always been a tool for the user to decide if they like a video and find its content useful or not. But with the evolution of times, the purpose and functionality of the tool have changed.

“Platforms now live in a creator-driven economy and culture. This is a change like we have never seen before, ”said Harsh Shah, Executive Vice President, Business – North and West, Dentsu Webchutney. “It is therefore imperative to ensure fair opportunities for all and especially to preserve the well-being of the creator, by encouraging more and more creators to participate actively on all platforms”, he adds.

According to Shah, the aversion feature has often been turned into a tool to target certain creators for their thoughts / actions / content – which no one signs up for.

YouTube is one of the few platforms that has a Like button. Many do not.

With people spending more time at home since the Covid-19 outbreak, YouTube’s reach has grown rapidly across the country. According to the YouTube Brandcast 2021 report, in India, 85% of viewers have used the platform more than ever since March 2020.

So, what’s to love about YouTube’s decision for marketers? “This move could also be beneficial for brands to experiment with more content and work towards a solid content strategy without fear of an ORM disaster,” Shah said.

Why did YouTube make the aversions count private on YouTube?

YouTube’s decision to make the dislike account private was a step planned to promote respectful interactions between viewers and creators.

Digital marketers point out that there has been significant growth in instances where user groups have used the Dislike button as a tool in coordinated attacks to undo a piece of content or the creator.

“We have noticed this type of coordinated attack on content / ads from a few brands over the past few years,” said Preetham Venkky, President, 22feet Tribal Worldwide & Chief Digital Officer, DDB Mudra Group

In an official November 10 blog post, where the platform announced the gradual roll-out of dislike count concealment, YouTube said it conducted an experiment earlier this year with the dislike button to see if any changes may or may not help better protect creators from harassment, and reduce aversion attacks – where people strive to increase the number of dislikes on a creator’s videos.

In this experiment, viewers could still see and use the dislike button, but not the counts.

Expanding on the experience, the blog said, “Because the number was not visible to them, we found that they were less likely to target a video’s dislike button to increase the number. In short, the data from our experiments showed a reduction in aversion attack behavior. “

What changes for brands and designers?

Removing YouTube’s number of dislikes from public view is a move by the video streaming platform in the right direction, according to most experts.

As Shradha Agarwal, COO and Strategy Head – Grapes Digital points out, previously, users could also hide the number of dislikes by logging into the YouTube studio.

“In many cases, we’ve seen videos facing extreme heat from trolling and dislikes forced content creators to hide the number of dislikes on their videos,” she says.

Obviously, it was time for the brands to be relieved.

Brands could now use dislike data on their analytics dashboard, in a constructive way.

“Behind the scenes, brands can use the data as a means to determine their own benchmarks for the quality of the videos created. This change helps improve brand safety on the platform, as brands can be confident that there will be less likelihood of coordinated cancellation culture attacks on their content, ”Venkky said.

Moreover, according to Chetan Asher, Founder and CEO of Tonic Worldwide, the move will create a safer atmosphere for social media and motivate aspiring content creators who are just starting out, protecting them from the discouragement of enemies on the internet.

What changes for the viewer?

As YouTube pointed out in its official blog post, the dislikes count will be private across the platform, but the dislike button will remain.

Before investing time in a video, most experienced YouTube users would use the ratio of “Like” to “Dislike” to determine the quality of the video.

“It was an extra ‘signal’ (information about the data) for users to make a decision before watching the video,” says Venky. But now that will change for good, he adds.

Basically, users may still dislike the content, but their decision won’t be based on popular opinion. Not unless they actually see the video or go through the comments section.

“Power users will get used to the ratio or number of likes to views as a way of determining the quality of a video,” says Venky, adding, “Alternatively, a simple scroll in the comments section will help them. to determine the same. ”

Thumb up and down

YouTube co-founder Jawed Karim called the move “stupid”. He updated the description of the very first video on the platform titled “Me at the Zoo” to “When every YouTuber agrees that removing dislikes is a dumb idea, it probably is.” Try again, YouTube. ‘ But whether YouTube will try again is the million dollar question right now for marketers at all levels.


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