No, this is not the Babylon Bee or an April Fools’ Day joke. From Samuel Allegri at theepochtimes.com:
Youtube, the video hosting platform owned by Google, announced on March 29 that they are going to test making the “dislike” count on videos invisible.
The tech giant says that it’s being done in response to “targeted dislike campaigns” and “creator feedback around well-being.”
“In response to creator feedback around well-being and targeted dislike campaigns, we’re testing a few new designs that don’t show the public dislike count,” YouTube announced on Twitter.
“If you’re part of this small experiment, you might spot one of these designs in the coming weeks.”
It further states on a Google support page: “Viewer feedback has always been, and will continue to be, an important part of YouTube. But we’ve heard from creators that the public dislike counts can impact their wellbeing, and may motivate a targeted campaign of dislikes on a creator’s video. So, we’re testing designs that don’t include the visible like or dislike count in an effort to balance improving the creator experience, while still making sure viewer feedback is accounted for and shared with the creator. ”
A majority of responses on both the Twitter announcement and on the support page disapprove of the idea, with some comments suggesting the move is a consequence of the tremendous imbalance of “dislikes” on the present administration’s videos on their White House channel.