In a nutshell:

  • YouTube made dislikes private across the platform in 2021.
  • However, users can still see the dislike counts of their own videos.
  • There are ways to restore the visibility of dislikes on videos, specifically through browser extensions.

A few years ago, YouTube decided to hide the public dislike count on videos. While this move, according to YouTube, was intended to prevent harassment and protect creators from dislike mobs, it has sparked tons of backlash.It was a major change that was met with resistance. However, it didn’t take long for creators and viewers to find a workaround. If you’re wondering how to see dislikes on YouTube, this guide will walk you through both the official method and third-party solutions, along with the potential risks of using these solutions.

Background

In November 2021, YouTube decided to hide the public dislike counts on all videos. Reportedly, this decision was made to foster a more inclusive and less toxic environment. However, it has also led to criticism, as dislikes serve as a quick indicator of a video’s quality and reliability. For example, a tutorial with a disproportionate number of dislikes compared to likes signals to new viewers that they shouldn’t waste their time watching. 

The platform has defended their decision multiple times, with the CEO stating that YouTube wants “every creator to feel they can express themselves without harassment.” In their view, public dislikes caused more harm than good, and were used in ways that had nothing to do with video quality or reliability. If a creator happened to fall out of viewers’ good graces, their following videos were sure to be riddled with a wave of dislikes, almost as if to shame them. Though users can still dislike videos freely, taking out the public aspect has shown to discourage “dislike attacks.” Some have also speculated that YouTube made this decision to primary help brands from dislike attacks.

How to see your YouTube video’s dislike count

For content creators, YouTube still provides access to dislike counts through YouTube Studio. Here’s how you can see your dislikes:

  • Step 1: Log in to your YouTube account
  • Step 2: Click on your profile picture and go to YouTube Studio.
  • Step 3: Click on Content in the left-hand menu. Here will be a library of all the content uploaded to your channel, along with each video’s basic information and viewing data (date uploaded, views, comments and likes/dislikes).
  • Step 4: On the video of your choice, hover your mouse over the like count in the last column. Both the number of likes and dislikes will pop up above the mouse cursor.

Note: You can also find your video’s dislike count by hovering your mouse over the video’s title on this page. Click on the icon that looks like a poll, accessing the Video analytics page. By going to the Engagement tab, the Likes (vs. dislikes) box compares the video’s like/dislike ratio to your whole channel. Clicking See more will show you the total number of likes and dislikes, and you can also add additional uploads to compare their metrics.

Using third-party extensions for YouTube dislikes

If you want to see the dislikes on videos that aren’t yours, third-party browser extensions are a popular solution. One of the most popular extension is the Return YouTube Dislike extension. This extension works by accessing the YouTube API. But for multiple reasons, you should use caution before using a third-party browser extension. While third-party extensions can be helpful, they come with potential risks. Privacy is a major concern, as these extensions often require permissions to access data on the websites you visit. There is also the risk of downloading malware if the extension is not from a trusted source. To minimize these risks, it’s important to be cautious and do your research before adding any third-party tool to your browser, so read through user reviews and check the ratings. High ratings and positive feedback are good indicators of a safe extension. Also, make sure to keep your browser and extensions updated. Regular updates ensure you have the latest security patches and improvements. If you haven’t already, invest in antivirus software (there are also free options available).

Use the YouTube dislike wisely

Whatever YouTube’s decision was to disable the public dislike count, it has left many users searching for alternative ways to gauge video quality and viewer feedback. For creators, YouTube Studio remains the go-to tool for accessing detailed analytics, including dislikes. For viewers, third-party extensions like Return YouTube Dislike can restore the ability to see dislike counts, albeit with some risks.

Though YouTube continues to allow creators to see the dislike count of their own videos, don’t give this number too much attention when analyzing your own videos. Dislikes never feel good when you’re the one receiving them, but remember that they are just one part of the overall feedback landscape. Engaging with your audience through comments, messages and social media can provide a more nuanced understanding of how your content is being received. Ultimately, the best approach is to use all available tools and data to continuously improve and connect with your audience.