YouTube is working on ways to prevent “dislike mobs” from maliciously disliking videos in order to reduce their reach.
This was announced in the latest edition of YouTube’s Creator Insider video series.
Dislike mobs refer to groups of people who immediately hit the dislike button on a video without even watching it.
This can sometimes occur in the form of a coordinated effort, which is why it’s referred to as a “mob.”
Example of a Dislike Mob
An example that immediately comes to my mind is the trailer for an upcoming Diablo game for mobile phones.
As soon as the game was announced, angry fans mashed the dislike button to express their contempt.
Fans’ hopes of a new Diablo game for PC were crushed when the developer announced a smartphone game at its annual ‘Blizzcon’ convention.
The trailer currently has over 700 thousand dislikes. Many of those dislikes probably came from people who didn’t watch the video, they were just upset with the announcement.
The Problem With Dislike Mobs
An excessive amount of dislikes can affect how a video ranks in YouTube’s search results, and how often it is recommended in users’ homepages.
YouTube has ways to mitigate the damage caused by dislike mobs already, but the company is considering additional measures.
Here are some solutions that may be introduced in the future.
Turning like counts off by default
YouTube creators currently have the option not to show how many likes or dislikes a video has.
Like counts are on by default, but YouTube may consider turning them off.
Viewers could still like or dislike a video even though the overall numbers won’t be shown.
Users may need to provide a reason for disliking a video
Another option YouTube is considering is requiring users to explain why they’re hitting the dislike button.
For example, users may have to click a checkbox and give a reason for disliking the video.
This option would give useful feedback to creators and discourage impulsive dislikes.
However, YouTube says this would be the most complicated solution to build.
Removing dislikes entirely
One last option may be to remove dislikes entirely, which the company admits would be an extreme measure and not very democratic.
Not all dislikes are from dislike mobs. Sometimes people genuinely want to express how they feel about a video after watching it all the way through.
Nothing is Final Yet
These options are all being “lightly discussed,” and nothing is confirmed to change as of now.
YouTube may choose to go with none of these options, but they are all being considered.
Subscribe to SEJ
Get our daily newsletter from SEJ’s Founder Loren Baker about the latest news in the industry!