YouTube Co-Founder Voices Disdain Towards the Dislike Viewer Removal
In April 2005, YouTube co-founder Jawed Karim uploaded the first video on YouTube, titled “Me at the zoo.” Since then, Karim has used the description for that short, yet significant, video to criticize decisions made by the platform. The first time he had done this was back in 2013 to criticize the requirement to have a Google+ account in order to comment on videos.
Eight years later, Karim has updated the description of “Me at the zoo” to disapprove of another significant change to the platform: the removal of the dislike button count. While viewers still have the option to dislike a video, they will no longer see how many dislikes a video has received. Only the uploader now can see the number of dislikes in their video.
YouTube’s reason for this is to protect content creators, but there is much skepticism concerning this decision. In Karim’s response, he argues that seeing the like to dislike ratio on a video shows viewers if a video is worth watching and weeds out poorly made content. It also helps point out videos to viewers that are clickbait, misleading, scams, or fake tutorials.
When one of the company’s founders is upset with this change, it might not be as good of an idea as YouTube thinks it is. Even though YouTube has valid reasons for the decision, their reasons are not strong enough to implement such a drastic change. If viewers have no way to see if a video is worth their time or not before watching it then some videos may not be watched. This could make it harder for newer creators to gang the momentum they need and easier for scams and misinformation to creep through the platform.
Is this change going to destroy the integrity of the platform? Not necessarily. But the drawbacks could definitely outweigh the benefits. YouTube knows this, and that’s what’s so frustrating about it.
Michael Morehouse is a junior from Mishawaka, Indiana, majoring in public relations and minoring in writing. Michael is an associate with Fifth Street Communications®, a student-run public relations agency at Anderson University.