If you haven’t heard yet, YouTube has announced that while they’re going to keep the dislike button, they’re going to eliminate the counter that shows how many people have disliked the video. YouTube’s users have already expressed their anger toward this decision but it would appear that its creator is also weighing in as well, and he too doesn’t approve.
According to YouTube, the point behind it is to stop what they deem to be dislike brigades who use the button to target creators they don’t like. They claim that it’s used as a form of harassment and that by eliminating the dislike counter they’re putting a stop to this bullying.
Speculation began circulating as to what the true purpose behind hiding the dislike count was and many concluded that it was in the interest of protecting brands from dislikes whenever their ad campaigns incite anger from a group of people.
For instance, Gillette’s short film about “toxic masculinity” was so unpopular that many people expressed their displeasure by disliking the video they posted to YouTube. As of this writing, the video has over 1.6 million dislikes to 835K likes. Not a good look for a brand to have this kind of disapproval aimed at your campaign.
Gillette also cost its parent company, Proctor and Gamble, over $5 billion with this ill-thought-out stunt but I digress.
Funny enough, as of this writing the announcement video above from YouTube has over 151K dislikes vs 14K likes itself, but again, I digress.
YouTube’s co-founder Jawed Karim also weighed in, calling it a “stupid idea.”
The comment can be found on Karim’s YouTube channel where only a single video can be found; the first video ever uploaded to YouTube some 16 years ago of Karim commenting on elephants. In the description of the video, Karim edited it to read “When every YouTuber agrees that removing dislikes is a stupid idea, it probably is. Try again, YouTube.”
Truth be told, it is a stupid thing for YouTube to do. The dislike button has been abused in the past. That much is true, but what constitutes abuse and what counts as rejection from audiences shouldn’t be mixed up. Referencing back to the Gillette commercial, men (and even women) had every right to dislike a video that painted men as toxic and disappointing in general. It was an insulting ad created by a radical feminist company and Gillette’s (former) customers were right to express their disapproval that the company would do such a thing.
However, if we pull back a bit further, we can see that it’s probably not the will to protect brands that helped YouTube reach this decision. It may very well have been a small part of it, but I doubt it was the main reason.
The real reason is that it was likely trying to protect the Biden administration and its allies, which is constantly receiving downvotes in nearly every video attempting to promote them. For instance, the Fauci documentaries from National Geographic and Disney Plus have extraordinarily more dislikes than likes, and these numbers are on full display. Moreover, nearly every single video being released by the White House right now is being downvoted into oblivion.
Comments have, of course, been turned off.
YouTube, and especially its parent company Google, have made almost no attempt to hide where they sit on the political spectrum. They’ve also made it very clear that when it comes to narratives about things like Fauci and the COVID-19 virus, they won’t be playing around in their defense of the left’s narrative. To show they meant business, they suspended the account of Senator (and doctor) Rand Paul over a video where he discussed the science around masks.
Paul returned fire, questioning “when YouTube became an arm of the government” and slammed YouTube and Google for believing they were the “arbitrator of truth.”
YouTube can claim it’s eliminating its dislike count for noble reasons, but all evidence points toward an attempt to silence dissent against leftist narratives and causes.