Why did the world’s largest video website take away the voice of over 2 billion users?

The recent YouTube community is filled with a heartbreak of the same style of Supreme treasure in the movie "Western Journey":

There used to be a bunch of "stepped" data in front of me. I didn't cherish it. After I lost it, I regretted it. The most painful thing in the world is this. If God gives me another chance, I will say three words to YouTube: You pay me back!

The above lines are purely fictitious, but the emotions and controversy are indeed true.

▲ Picture from YouTube

On November 10th, YouTube announced the number of "dislikes" on hidden videos from now on .

The button still exists, and the system algorithm will adjust the content recommendation based on your "dislikes", but the data is no longer publicly displayed, and only the creator can see it in the background. Officials say this measure is to protect creators from bad reviews and online harassment (especially creators who are just starting out), and netizens say it hurts the user experience.

Hide the number of negative reviews, YouTube hopes you can tap "Dislike"

In the official blog, YouTube said this:

YouTube’s biggest mission is to give everyone a chance to speak up… We hope to create an environment of tolerance and mutual respect, so that creators have the opportunity to succeed and express themselves safely.

On most social platforms or video platforms, we will use "re-like comments" to measure whether a piece of content is good or not. The special thing about YouTube is that it is not only a bit like, but also clickable.

▲ Picture from The Mac Observer

YouTube said that although many users use "dislike" data to judge whether a video is good or bad, the research team found that this feature is also easy to abuse. In March of this year, YouTube began to test whether hidden click counts are feasible , and finally found that this change does not affect people's viewing decisions, but it can effectively reduce unfair cyber attacks.

Said to protect creators, users do not buy the YouTube set, all kinds of dissatisfaction and doubts crowded the comment area.

Some people think that YouTube’s true intention is not to protect content creators, but to protect brands and advertisers. Some people speculate that YouTube did this because it was hurt by the bad reviews of the 2018 video . Why not publish the detailed data of the study? Why do you want to give everyone a chance to speak up while taking away the user's right to express?

Some netizens spontaneously formed the "Tap-Tap Sightseeing Group." They clicked on the list of YouTube videos that have been “tumbled” the most , commented one by one, and left a lot of scolding.

▲ At the top of the list is YouTube's 2018 annual video, which has been "disliked" 198.4 million times. The second place is Justin Bieber's "Baby" MV, with 12.45 million clicks.

In addition, some netizens are thinking about how to respond, such as creating a "click counter" in the comment area, or using some Chrome plug-ins to restore the public display of video clicks.

▲ Step on me if it's a brother!

I tried to install a browser plug-in called "Return YouTube Dislike" . Before it was launched, YouTube's official announcement video "Brilliant Record" had 2.65 million views and 22,000 likes.

Only the plugin knows that it has been secretly "stepped on" 280,000 times.

You don’t know anything about the power of "contradictory"

The mechanism of "like" and "dislike" is not something YouTube is born with.

When it was founded in 2005, YouTube adopted a five-star rating system: videos you like get a five-star praise, and those you don't like leave a ruthless one star, just like you rate in Douban movies today. Later, YouTube was acquired by Google. This scoring mechanism was changed to two thumbs around 2010 , one up and the other down, which are "like" and "down".

▲ Previous five-star rating

Why can hiding this small number cause heated discussions?

Compared with the natural short video attributes of Instagram and TikTok, YouTube is more suitable for medium and long video dissemination. According to a survey data in December 2018, the average YouTube video duration is 11.7 minutes; among them, music videos are the shortest, with an average of 6.8 minutes, and gaming videos are the longest, with an average of 24.7 minutes.

For users, "likes and dislikes" can be used directly to judge whether a film is worth wasting time to watch-is it a title party? Is it shoddy to induce clicks? Is it wrong or false information? How many people like it, and how many people hate it?

▲ The most unpopular YouTube video is a video that defends sexism and racism. The "like-to-dislike ratio" reaches 1:45, which shows how unpleasant it is

In addition, "like" and "dislike" are also the lowest-cost ways of expressing emotions and opinions. After watching the video, you can express your perception in this simple way, and the data will also be accumulated for the next user to bring reference, like a tacit communication in the community.

And when the "contradictory" voice is hidden, you need to spend more time and energy to judge or make trial and error. Without such a convenient and practical tool, the user's perception is very obvious: the product has become more difficult to use.

▲ Picture from TechCrunch

Digital review blogger Marques Brownlee has 15 million followers on YouTube. He pointed out that , unlike Instagram and TikTok, which rely on content recommendations, YouTube is actually the second largest search engine in the world (after Google). Users come here to actively search for keywords, and "likes and dislikes" can help them. Find useful content quickly.

Brownlee also proposed another analogy: YouTube is a bit like Netflix, Amazon, or even the e-commerce platform Etsy.

Bloggers are content producers, and audiences are content consumers. Just imagine if an e-commerce platform hides one-star reviews in order to protect the mental health of businesses, consumers have to take more detours if they want to buy good things. Isn't the logic quite outrageous?

▲ Digital review blogger Marques Brownlee

Jawed Karim, the co-founder of YouTube, called the practice of hiding clicks as "stupid ideas" and "unwelcome changes." In his view , the survival of the fittest in content is a normal law, and YouTube’s new measures are likely to cause the quality of the community’s content to decline.

The ability to easily and quickly identify objectionable content is a basic feature of user-generated content platforms. Why? Because not all user-generated content is good. impossible……

This process is effective, and it has a name: the wisdom of the masses. When the platform interferes with it, the process will be interrupted. Then, the platform will begin to decline. Does YouTube want to be a mediocre place?

▲ Picture from gadgets.ndtv.com

Is there any other way besides rude and straightforward one size fits all?

In 2018, the B station launched the "bad review" function, and the figures will be displayed truthfully at the beginning, which also caused controversy at one time.

Although the official original intention was to crack down on inferior content (title party, cover party, marketing account, etc.) , users pointed out that "bad reviews" would discourage the creative enthusiasm of up owners, and there were also potential problems such as malicious bad reviews and navy reviews. . In the end, station B quickly adjusted its functions and decided not to display the "bad reviews" number.

▲ Picture from Bilibili

Now there is a "dislike" button below the video at station B. You can click it to express your attitude like you usually use "one-key three-connection". The specific number is not displayed, and even the up master is not visible in the background. How many people clicked "dislike" a video is like a mystery, only the platform system knows it.

Most content creators are indeed sensitive. When you devote yourself to making a video, the result is not as good as you want. The bright "step on" or "dislike" is like a knife in your heart. For YouTube bloggers, the clear "like-and-dislike ratio" is like a public sentence.

Brownlee pointed out that when the audience has expectations of your content, they will naturally have more stringent criticism.

Hiding the number of "steps" can reduce malicious attacks to a certain extent, but it also takes away the user's convenient experience and freedom of expression accordingly. If the quality of the content does not pass, then the bad reviews will not disappear, and the pressure will only transfer to the comment area. Brownlee believes that YouTube can actually provide a better solution than one size fits all.

▲ Picture from searchenginejournal.com

Before that, YouTube creators actually had a series of tools to stop cyberbullying. For example, the system will automatically block some inappropriate comments. In addition, creators can hide the "Like" and "Dislike" data at any time through the background settings (only at the same time hide/show at the same time).

Likes have always been regarded as the "evil source" of anxiety brought about by social platforms. In May of this year, Instagram handed over the decision to the blogger, who can choose whether to publish the number of likes. Can YouTube also refer to this kind of operation and handle it flexibly?

▲ Picture from Unsplash

In 2019, YouTube also explored other ideas on the same issue.

At the time, YouTube project management director Tom Leung said that he could consider adding one more step to "dislikes" by asking "Why don't you like this video?" This can provide creators with more information, and can also guide viewers to think, and reduce the occurrence of "stepping" on impulse.

There are also YouTube creators who proposed a creative operation at the time-they can require the audience to watch a part of the video first (for example, watch at least 25%), otherwise they will not be able to like or dislike it.

In addition, the practice of the game platform Steam is worthy of reference: they will attach a chart to the game scoring interface to show when the good or bad reviews are made, and you can intuitively see whether it is a malicious navy or a normal score.

▲ Steam rating of a certain game

However, for the time being, YouTube does not intend to adjust the "dislike" feature again.

TechCrunch speculates that this new move by YouTube is to respond to the "talent battle" with platforms such as TikTok, hoping to further improve the creator experience and retain more creators.

A YouTube netizen named @Yibo Liu reminded the creator that the voice of "opposite tune" can also make people progress.

The whole society is losing tolerance for criticism, including constructive criticism. If I cover my ears and ignore why people don’t like my content, how do I know how to improve next time?

*The title picture of this article is from dexerto.com

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