YouTube co-founder Jawed Karim has reacted to the video streaming platform’s changes to the dislike option, saying it’s “a stupid idea”. YouTube recently announced that it will stop showing dislike counts on all videos hosted on its platform to protect creators from harassment and targeted attacks. But the decision has not gone down well with many YouTube users, including some video creators. To show his disapproval, Karim updated the description of the first-ever video uploaded on YouTube — “Me At The Zoo”.
UPDATE: Karim edited the description once again, adding more information. Here’s what he said:
Watching Matt Koval’s announcement about the removal of dislikes, I thought something was off.
The spoken words did not match the eyes. The video reminded me of an interview Admiral Jeremiah Denton gave in 1966. I have never seen a less enthusiastic, more reluctant announcement of something that is supposed to be great.
Calling the removal of dislikes a good thing for creators cannot be done without conflict by someone holding the title of “YouTube’s Creator Liaison”. We know this because there exists not a single YouTube Creator who thinks removing dislikes is a good idea — for YouTube or for Creators.
Why would YouTube make this universally disliked change? There is a reason, but it’s not a good one, and not one that will be publicly disclosed. Instead, there will be references to various studies. Studies that apparently contradict the common sense of every YouTuber.
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. And that’s OK. The idea was never that all content is good. The idea WAS, however, that among the flood of content, there are great creations waiting to be exposed. And for that to happen, the stuff that’s not great has to fall by the side as quickly as possible.
The process works, and there’s a name for it: the wisdom of the crowds. The process breaks when the platform interferes with it. Then, the platform invariably declines. Does YouTube want to become a place where everything is mediocre? Because nothing can be great if nothing is bad.
In business, there’s only one thing more important than “Make it better”. And that’s “Don’t f*** it up”.
“When every YouTuber agrees that removing dislikes is a stupid idea, it probably is. Try again, YouTube,” he wrote in the description. Besides being the co-founder of YouTube, he is also the first person to upload a video to the site, which is the “Me At The Zoo” video. Later, YouTube was sold to Google.
Karim also commented on the video YouTube shared detailing its move to hide the dislike count. Matt Koval, the Creator Liaison of YouTube, explained to viewers what the move would mean. Koval says the dislike option allowed creators to know whether the video was good or not but, unfortunately, research teams found that groups of viewers were targeting a creator, usually because they don’t like the creator.
“Matt doesn’t look excited because he knows it’s the wrong decision,” Karim said.
Ironically, the Matt Koval video has got 139,000 dislike counts against just 14,000 likes. Critics often cite the public count of likes — or dislikes — on a video post to suggest it is harmful. Facebook and Instagram have allowed users to remove the option. After the recent move by YouTube, users will still be able to click on the “dislike” button below a clip but the creators will no longer see the negative review count.
YouTube has asserted the change will protect small creators who are targeted by dislike attacks. It said it wants to promote “respectful interactions between viewers and creators”. YouTube’s research has shown that making the dislike count private would result in a reduction of harassment of creators.