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YouTube CEO says removing ‘dislike’ button prevents harmful ‘attacks’

YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki defended the decision to remove its “dislike” button from posts on this week, arguing the move has helped to reduce bullying on the video sharing platform. In a letter to YouTube’s online community, Wojcicki acknowledged the button’s removal was “controversial” among users and content creators, with some saying they used the “dislike” feature to decide which videos to watch. But Wojcicki said YouTube felt the button was an inaccurate way to gauge quality because “people dislike videos for many reasons.” Company executives also determined the feature was being weaponized against some creators – a practice widely referred to as “review bombing.” “We also saw the dislike count harming parts of our ecosystem through dislike attacks as people actively worked to drive up the number of dislikes on a creator’s videos,” Wojcicki said. “These attacks often targeted smaller creators and those just getting started. We want every creator to feel they can express themselves without harassment.” YouTube first unveiled plans to hide dislike counts on videos last November. Various have taken steps to address bullying amid rising scrutiny on Capitol Hill regarding the harmful effects of social media on young users. Wojcicki said YouTube tested removing the button “across millions of videos” to reach its conclusion. “Every way we looked at it, we did not see a meaningful difference in viewership, regardless of whether or not there was a public dislike count,” Wojcicki added. “And importantly, it reduced dislike attacks.” The changes to YouTube’s “dislike” feature drew plenty of critics, including company co-founder Jawed Karim, who referred to it as a “stupid idea” that could hurt quality control on the platform. “The ability to easily and quickly identify bad content is an essential feature of a user-generated content platform. Why? Because not all user-generated content is good. It can’t be. In fact, most of it is not good,” he said, according to PC Mag.

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