YouTube Co-Founder Predicts ‘Decline’ of the Platform Following Removal of Dislikes

Last week, YouTube announced a controversial decision to make the "dislike" count on videos private across its platform. Not only did the move upset many Slashdotters, but it upset the third co-founder of YouTube, Jawed Karim, too. According to The Verge, Karim suggests that the move "will lead to YouTube's decline." From the report: "Why would YouTube make this universally disliked change? There is a reason, but it's not a good one, and not one that will be publicly disclosed," writes Karim. "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." Karim has been getting his own message out in an unusual way: by editing the description to the first video ever uploaded to YouTube, a banal clip titled "Me at the zoo" which stars the 25-year-old Karim himself. Karim originally edited the description of the video a few days ago to read: "When every YouTuber agrees that removing dislikes is a stupid idea, it probably is. Try again, YouTube [face palm emoji]." But this morning he changed this description once again to give a more detailed condemnation: "The ability to easily and quickly identify bad content is an essential feature of a user-generated content platform," writes Karim. "Why? Because not all user-generated content is good. It can't be. In fact, most of it is not good. And that's OK. [...] The process works, and there's a name for it: the wisdom of the crowds. The process breaks when the platform interferes with it. Then, the platform invariably declines. Does YouTube want to become a place where everything is mediocre?" In his statement today, Karim compares the video in which Matt Koval, YouTube's "creator liason," announced the removal of dislikes to infamous footage of US soldier Jeremiah Denton, who was captured during the Vietnam War. In 1966, Denton was forced to give a television interview by his captors, during which he blinked in Morse code to spell out the word "torture." You can read Karim's full statement in the description of this video.

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