The dislike button – a boon or an evil?


Is the dislike button necessary for social media? Do they serve any constructive purpose? Or have dislike buttons become a sign of hate? Do they affect both the content creators and content consumers?

Answers to these questions are still hypothetical. Many creators, social media users, social and psychological researchers argue about both the pros and cons of the dislike button on social media. As social media users or content consumers, we can see a mixed conclusion from examining the most popular social media platforms today.

Youtube has an explicit dislike button and Reddit has a downvote button. But Meta and its sister platforms don’t have a dislike button. Even Twitter doesn’t have a dislike button, but we can soon expect one as they are testing a version of the dislike button. Facebook tested the dislike button a few years back, but they dropped that idea and included a few other reactions with the like button.

Last year when Youtube announced its idea of disowning the dislike button, it faced rash arguments. Soon, Youtube announced that they were making the dislike count private across the platform. They explained that they took this change as it could widely create a better place for creators and thus, help them stay away from hateful criticisms and harassment.

Is a dislike button necessary?

Youtube was one of the prominent content creation platforms that introduced the like and dislike button in 2010. Before that, they used to have a star-based ranking system. They found the five-star rating system ineffective because users mostly opted for 1 or 5 stars, leaving the selection of 2-4 stars to the least minimum. 

When they introduced the like and dislike button, their vision was to rank the content and work on the algorithms of their platform. Unfortunately, it triggered a lot of negativity and harassment among the users and creators.

Out of the top 50 most-disliked youtube videos, 6 appear in the list of most-viewed youtube videos and 4 appear in the list of most-lied youtube videos. From this, we can clearly see how trollers and other people use the dislike button to spread hate and negativity. It is also evident that social media users and content consumers have turned into critics more than audiences since the introduction of the dislike and like button. 

It is normal to hold opinions on creations and content. When kept constructive, criticism will help the content creators create more useful and likeable content and allow the social media platforms to push content that deserves the traffic. But if the criticism becomes a choice to harass a creator by sitting behind the anonymity of the Internet, it is highly toxic.

Is the dislike button a soft troll?

Trolls, on the whole, are subject to negativity and toxicity. They can’t be agreed upon or accepted on any level or degree. Justin Bieber’s ‘Baby’ song and Psy’s ‘Gangnam Style’ song were examples where the dislike button was used to spread hate towards the creators than just disliking the content published. 

Most often the toxic fandom of creators plays a significant role in hate campaigns of fellow competitive creators. Toxic fandom is when fans or loyal audiences of a creator criticise, attack or harass other creators and their fans. It comes as a result of celebrating their favourite creators and trying to nullify the talent and skills of others.

Even in India, every time a big star’s movie releases its teaser or trailer, they are subjected to a dislike campaign by the fans of other stars. So, the dislike button can never be a soft troll, whereas it is often a planned way of spreading negativity and harassment.

How does the dislike button affect content creators?

As said earlier, every social media user and the content consumer has their own opinion and is entitled to it. Opinions can be positive or negative; it has become easy for people to share their opinions easily. 

We hear many creators say, once they upload and publish the content, they stay away from the social media and other publishing platforms to keep themselves unaffected by the instant negativity. Every content creator wants their content to perform well and be liked by the audience. And in the place of likes, if dislikes and trolls wave in, it breaks the self-esteem of content creators. 

We know social acceptance and likes directly impact a creator’s self-worth. So, dislike can have opposite adverse effects.

For an audience, it is just disapproval of a piece of content, but for the creators, it can be damaging. It offsets the work and time they have spent to create the content.

The negativity through dislikes and trolls could cause significant harm and distress to the creators. It affects them with the most severe physical and psychological effects such as depression, anxiety, lowered self-esteem, social isolation, self-harm, and suicidal ideation. 

Trolling has become extremely common and it’s getting to the stage of being normalised. And one of the leading aid in making the trolls normalised is the dislike button. Disowning the dislike button will spare content creators from stress and anxiety to a large level.

Social media platforms can effectively save both the creators and their fan base from stress, anxiety, and other negative emotions that might arise from a hate campaign’s target by suppressing the dislikes.

To summarise

Internet and social media platforms have become the go-to place of everyone, and one of the main reasons for it is the content begin generated by the creators. With this being said, the Internet should be a place of inclusivity and a peaceful space to create content. The dislike button and its counts have created many unnecessary conflicts and negativity on the Internet. 

But the dislike button cannot be removed entirely, as there won’t be any constructive measure to know the performance and likability of the content published. The audience also uses the dislike button to show their disinterest in published content. 

So, the only far possible solution is the one Youtube has taken. The dislike button will be present, but the number of dislikes will not be visible to the public. It will definitely stop fuelling fandom conflicts and hate campaigns, helping the content creators create content in a peaceful zone.

At TagMango, we do not entertain or tolerate any kind of trolling, negativity or hatred and are working extensively towards creating a safe space for creators to thrive peacefully. We facilitate and provide content creators with the utmost freedom to create and monetise their content and build a sustainable income source by utilising their skillset and expertise in a most secure space.

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