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YouTube’s co-founder says the platform is doomed once it removes dislike counts

Jawed Karim used his “Me at the Zoo” video description to express his concerns over the move.

youtube dislike button
Image: KnowTechie

One of YouTube’s co-founders, Jawed Karim, has taken a strong stance against the company’s move to remove dislike counts from public view on videos. Karim is credited with uploading the first-ever video to the platform, titled “Me at the Zoo,” and he has recently updated the description of that video with a strong message against the move.

“Why would YouTube make this universally disliked change?” reads Karim’s message. Spotted by The Verge, he starts off his bold statement by comparing YouTube Creator Liason Matt Koval’s announcement to a 1966 interview from Jeremiah Denton.

Denton was an American Prisoner of War in Vietnam who used Morse code by blinking his eyelids to spell out the word “torture” during an interview where he was supposed to be spreading Vietnamese propaganda.

Calling the announcement reluctant and unenthusiastic, Karim questions why the decision was made. “There exists not a single YouTube Creator who thinks removing dislikes is a good idea – for YouTube or for Creators,” he says.

But why is Karim so up in arms about this new change? Basically, the same reason as everyone else. Karim references the fact that all of YouTube’s content is user-generated, and says that dislikes are an important aspect of identifying good content versus bad content.

“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.” By hiding dislikes, Karim says that YouTube will inevitably make the content on its platform worse.

And I have to agree. By hiding dislikes, YouTube is just going to make it more difficult to find useful content. There have been many times when I was looking for a tutorial, anything from tying a tie to building my PC, and the dislike counts on videos have helped me find the most helpful options.

YouTube’s algorithms and suggestions are impressive, but relying solely on them to deliver the best content available definitely isn’t the best option.

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