Google has made a decision: the thumbs counter goes down from YouTube. There is no doubt that this is a political decision, forced by the worst practices of today’s internet.
The thumbs counter on YouTube has changed several times, but it has a well-known form for many years. We see the number of paws up and paws down, as well as a bar showing the ratio of positive to negative ratings. It is simple and legible.
Soon such a view will go down in history, as reported by Google itself. While the thumb down button will not disappear, we will no longer see the number of negative ratings or the bar representing viewer ratings. The thumbs counter will remain up. Creators will still be able to see the number of paws down under their material, but this information will no longer be public.
The changes on YouTube are to reduce pathological situations when a massive attack by certain groups means the movie with thumbs down. However, there are voices of opposition showing the other side of the coin. Thumbs down were often the only way the community could show corporations its opposition. It was visible, for example, under the trailers of games in which producers took the easy way or tried to get money from players through microtransactions. Thumbs down was hit, for example, by Nintendo, which offered an unattractive online subscription.
As you can see, there is no golden mean, but turning off the thumbs down is positive. The Internet in 2021 can be a nasty place, and after the changes on YouTube, perhaps we will observe a little less pathology.