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Dislikes? What dislikes?
YouTube will no longer show dislikes publicly on videos, and no one likes that.
The most disliked video on YouTube is the company’s own Rewind recap of 2018. Its out-of-touch compilation of videos that did a poor job of defining the culture and trends of that year was widely hated by many, and many were quick to express their distaste using the handy-dandy thumbs down button below the player.
Hiding this blemish on YouTube’s reputation is the justification everyone’s arrived at for YouTube’s latest change to its platform: it will no longer publicly show the amount of dislikes a video has. Normal likes will stick around, but as far as how many people have elected to express how little they enjoyed a video, that number’s good as gone, at least on the surface.
It’s no stretch of the imagination to say virtually all of the reaction to the news has been negative, but it’s important to highlight YouTube’s own reason for ridding the metric from public view.
According to YouTube, hiding dislikes is in the same vein as Instagram hiding likes from its platform. It’s meant to limit bullying and harassment against creators and reduce insecurities around whether people respond positively to content that’s shared. The company even says in its testing, people were less likely to hit the dislike button if they couldn’t see the amount of dislikes already associated with the video.
We want to create an inclusive and respectful environment where creators have the opportunity to succeed and feel safe to express themselves.
YouTube also says this effort will help better protect smaller creators.
In short, our experiment data showed a reduction in dislike attacking behavior. We also heard directly from smaller creators and those just getting started that they are unfairly targeted by this behavior — and our experiment confirmed that this does occur at a higher proportion on smaller channels.
This change has been in the works for some time. YouTube has been running smaller tests involving the dislike button to see if it couldn’t improve the overall experience, in some instances getting rid of the button completely. However, after its research, YouTube decided the best thing to do was simply hide dislike metrics from the public.
Tapping the dislike button will still do something, and it would be weird if it didn’t. YouTube says if you dislike a video, it’ll play a role in the algorithm that curates content on your home page. Your dislike will also be visible to the creator of the video so they can keep tabs on what works and what doesn’t.
Of course, this all comes with some extreme backlash from users, mainly due to the lack of transparency. Not from YouTube - from dislikes themselves. Hiding dislikes, evidently, is something people don’t like. Hiding any metric that used to be perfectly visible is typically found to be sneaky and deceptive.
Many are defending the dislike button as being a good indication of whether to watch a video like a tutorial or something educational. Dislike-bombing, at least seemingly, typically targets larger publishers and creators due to some agreed-upon cultural decision. Therefore, many believe it’s just better to keep public dislikes around.
Disqus had a similar issue with dislikes in the past. Back in December of 2019 Disqus announced it was bringing back dislike metrics into public view. The reason? Their goal “is to create more spaces for people with different opinions to have more constructive interactions.”
Disqus learned that the reasons people were disliking content on its platform varied from comments not attributing to the conversation to people simply not liking one another. Obviously, YouTube has a different issue with dislikes where they’re almost used as an approval for whether you should watch a video or not, but public outrage was enough for Disqus to reevaluate its stance on whether to hide them, and I think YouTube could have a similar outcome.
If you go virtually anywhere on social media, you’ll find a lot of people who are disappointed in YouTube’s decision. For the foreseeable future, these people will stay that way. Whether YouTube caves to its audience’s demand remains to be seen, but this much public outcry will likely at least prompt conversations about whether to bring it back.
For now, I suppose you’ll have to stick with commenting if you want to voice your true opinion on a video if it can’t be translated by the like button.
Pay attention to Microsoft’s Windows 11 SE
Microsoft announced Windows 11 SE this week as a spiritual successor to Windows 10 S. 11 SE is a slimmed-down version of the standard Windows 11 operating system designed to run on lower-end hardware and only run a select number of applications.
That recipe didn’t work for Windows 10 S, but Microsoft has shifted who it’s marketing the OS to: education customers. It’ll go head-to-head with Google’s Chrome OS and ship on cheap laptops that can be controlled by a school’s IT administrator.
There’s a lot of good in Windows 11 SE. Apps open full-screen by default, multitasking is limited to split-screen, you can’t install any apps unless they’re approved by Microsoft (luckily Zoom and Chrome will be supported at launch), there’s no widget pane, and all files automatically get backed up to OneDrive.
Microsoft even created its own school-friendly laptop called the Surface Laptop SE with an 11.6-inch screen, an Intel Celeron processor, 4GB of RAM, and 64GB of storage. The company definitely wants to tackle Chrome OS’ dominance in the education market, and this will be its best shot yet.
I think this new operating system is worth paying attention to long-term. Microsoft has never seemed this serious about getting Windows in front of students, and it seems to have a recipe for success on its hands. I’ll be following this closely as Windows 11 SE gets ready to launch.
In other news…
Twitter launched its premium subscription service Twitter Blue. A part of your subscription will get you access to “hundreds” of websites completely ad-free. Matridox is one of them. I’ve got more information in a full blog post here.
Replacing an iPhone 13 screen breaks Face ID if you aren’t an authorized Apple repair shop, but Apple says that’ll be changing. Typically with a screen replacement of this nature, you’re required to also transfer a little chip that connects Face ID to the phone itself, and that’s an extremely tedious and difficult process for shops without the necessary equipment and training. Luckily, Apple says a software update will make it so that you don’t have to move the chip over with the new screen, hence not breaking Face ID. Jay Peters at The Verge got the scoop on this story.
Apple brought Alex Gorsky, CEO of Johnson & Johnson, onto its board of directors. Tim Cook said in a statement that “Alex has long been a visionary in healthcare, applying his tremendous insight, experience, and passion for technology to the cause of improving lives and building healthier communities. We’re excited to welcome him to Apple’s board of directors, and I know that all of us will benefit from his leadership and expertise.”
Gorsky, who is stepping down as CEO of J&J in January, will be an advisor for Apple as it continues its initiatives in the health market. Beyond that, there’s not much else we know about Gorsky’s role, and given how Apple will soon be his primary focus, it’s unclear what his role could grow into.
Twitter is launching a new division specifically dedicated to crypto. Tess Rinearson will lead the division which will serve as the company’s way of furthering its investment into decentralized technologies. TechCrunch’s Amanda Silberling has a great article on this.
Instagram is test-driving a new feature called “Take a Break” that will automatically prompt you to take a break from the app after you’ve been on it for a certain amount of time. The feature is part of Instagram’s broader effort to protect users’ mental health and digital wellbeing. Andrew Hutchinson at SocialMediaToday has a great article on it.
Spotify just turned autoplay on for everyone who uses Spotify Connect devices to play music, and people are pissed. Instead of giving them the option to turn it on, by default, Spotify will now continue to play music after a specific song, album, or playlist you requested ends. The Verge’s Emma Roth has quotes from Spotify on this and details on a campaign to get the feature disabled.
Paramount Plus and Twitter renewed their content deal so that shows and movies from Paramount can be used in Twitter’s marketing tools. Things like Watch Parties and the social network’s Amplify will be utilized under the deal to bolster the premiere of certain content and, hopefully, make it go viral. Brittany Roston at SlashGear has more details.