YouTube co-founder changes description of first-ever video on site to oppose concealment of dislikes number

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YouTube co-founder Jawed Karim reacted to the video streaming platform’s changes to the “I don’t like” option, saying it was “a stupid idea”. YouTube recently announced that it will stop showing the number of dislikes on all videos hosted on its platform in order to protect creators from harassment and targeted attacks. But the move was not well received by many YouTube users, including some video creators. To show his disapproval, Karim updated the description of the very first video uploaded to YouTube – “Me At The Zoo”.

UPDATE: Karim edited the description again, adding more information. Here is what he said:

Watching Matt Koval’s ad about removing dislikes, I thought something was wrong.
The words spoken did not match the eyes. The video reminded me of an interview with Admiral Jeremiah Denton in 1966. I have never seen a less enthusiastic and reluctant announcement of something that is supposed to be great.

Calling dislikes removal a good thing for creators cannot be done without conflict by someone with the title of “YouTube Creator Link”. We know this because there isn’t a single YouTube creator who thinks removing dislikes is a good idea, for YouTube or for creators.

Why would YouTube make this universally hated change? There is a reason, but it is not a good reason, and it will not be publicly disclosed. Instead, there will be references to various studies. Studies that seemingly contradict the common sense of every YouTuber.

The ability to easily and quickly identify bad content is an essential characteristic of a user-generated content platform. Why? Because not all user-generated content is good. It cannot be. In fact, most are not good. And that’s OK. The idea has never been that all content is good. The idea WAS, however, that among the flow of content there are some great creations waiting to be exhibited. And for that to happen, what isn’t great has to fall to the side as quickly as possible.

The process works, and there is a name for it: Crowd Wisdom. The process stops when the platform interferes with it. Then the platform invariably declines. Does YouTube want to be a poor all-rounder place? Because nothing can be great if nothing is bad.

In business, there is only one thing more important than “Make it better”. And it’s “don’t screw it up”.

“When every YouTuber agrees that removing dislikes is a stupid idea, it probably is. Try again, YouTube, ”he wrote in the description. In addition to 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. YouTube was later sold to Google.

Karim also commented on the video shared by YouTube detailing his decision to hide the number of dislikes. YouTube Creator Liaison Matt Koval explained to viewers what that would mean. Koval says that the “I don’t like” option let creators know if the video was good or not, but, unfortunately, research teams found that groups of viewers were targeting a creator, usually because they didn’t like the creator.

“Matt doesn’t look excited because he knows it’s the wrong decision,” Karim said.

Ironically, Matt Koval’s video got 139,000 counts versus just 14,000 likes. Critics often cite the public number of likes – or dislikes – on a video post to suggest it’s harmful. Facebook and Instagram have allowed users to remove the option. After YouTube’s recent move, users will still be able to click the “Dislike” button below a clip, but creators will no longer see the number of negative reviews.

YouTube claimed the change would protect small creators who are targets of anti-aversion attacks. He said he wanted to promote “respectful interactions between viewers and creators”. YouTube research has shown that making the dislike account private would lead to less harassment from creators.



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