If you use YouTube regularly then you would have noticed that the dislike counts on videos have disappeared.

The video streaming platform is hiding the number of ‘dislikes’ on videos in a move to prevent ‘attacks’ on smaller creators whose mental health is affected by ‘harassment’.

Creators will still be able to see the number of dislikes on their videos, but they will no longer be visible alongside the ‘likes’ in the comment section under each video for all of us to see.

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“Creators will still be able to find their exact dislike counts in YouTube Studio, along with other existing metrics, if they would like to understand how their content is performing,” YouTube explained in a statement.

The streaming platform said the aim is to ‘protect’ creators from coordinated ‘attacks’, in which users rally together to drive up the number of dislikes on a given video. They also hope it will reduce overall harassment.

“We want to create an inclusive and respectful environment where creators have the opportunity to succeed and feel safe to express themselves,” they explained.

Speaking to BBC News, music creator Kenzo, who has 200 YouTube subscribers, hailed the move and said receiving dislikes on videos can affect creators’ mental health.

He said: ‘You might put your heart and soul into something and then it doesn’t come out the way you want it to with likes or dislikes – that can be disheartening.

‘On my Instagram account I’ve taken all likes off and it’s really helped with not caring about the amount of people liking it.’

On the other side though, some people did not agree with the move.

Famous YouTube creator Marques Brownlee said, “Hey @YouTube removing info from the rating system is NOT helpful. Public like/dislike ratio = Useful tool to see how helpful a video will be at a glance. Hiding dislikes helps nothing… but increases the # of ppl dissatisfied by spending too much time watching an unhelpful video.”

While another user expressed that they were furious with the decision.

YouTube expects the change to be of particular benefit to smaller creators, who are disproportionately affected by coordinated dislike attacks.

The company started experimenting with the dislike button earlier this year to see if the changes could help better protect creators from harassment.

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“As part of this experiment, viewers could still see and use the dislike button. But because the count was not visible to them, we found that they were less likely to target a video’s dislike button to drive up the count,“ YouTube said.

The experiment showed a reduction in ’disliking attacking behaviour’ which was beneficial for small content creators.

“We also heard directly from smaller creators and those just getting started that they are unfairly targeted by this behavior — and our experiment confirmed that this does occur at a higher proportion on smaller channels,“ YouTube explained.

The video streaming giant explained that this move was only the beginning in a step towards protecting its creators from trolls.

“This is just one of many steps we are taking to continue to protect creators from harassment. Our work is not done, and we’ll continue to invest here,” YouTube said.

Photo by Christian Wiediger on Unsplash

In a similar move, the Meta-owned social media app Instagram updated its features earlier this year to give users an option to hide their public like counts in an effort to reduce the pressure associated with likes on the app.

However, since they found during testing that certain users looked to like counts to get a sense for what’s trending or popular, they would offer it as a choice instead of requiring it for everyone.