If you’ve decided that you absolutely cannot live without seeing the number of dislikes that videos get on YouTube, there’s now a way to get them back, at least for now.
A group of developers has created an open-source browser extension, aptly titled “Return YouTube Dislike,” that brings back the dislike counts on YouTube. The extension obtains the data from YouTube’s own API, which still shows dislikes when it’s used for public data, and restores the old layout we were used to seeing on videos before YouTube decided to axe dislikes last month to address harassment problems and “dislike attacks.” Return YouTube Dislike was spotted by 9to5Mac.
Interestingly, the extension shows you the exact number of dislikes a video has received and not just approximations, which is what YouTube previously offered. (Creators can still view the number of dislikes their content receives; the number is just not available to the public. Individual users can also still dislike content to help curate their recommendations).
The extension is available on Chrome, where it has already been downloaded by more than 200,000 users and garnered more than 3,800 overall positive reviews. It can be installed on Firefox, Edge, Opera, and Brave as well. If you’re an iOS user, the developers also have a version for you, but it’s jailbroken, so they advise those interested to “use at your own risk.”
As mentioned above, the extension will temporarily bring back YouTube dislikes. On their Github page about the project, the developers note that YouTube will remove the “dislike” field from its API on Dec. 13. This means that dislike counts won’t be able to be accessed through the API after that date, which, according to the developers, “[removes] any ability to judge the quality of content before watching.”
Currently, the extension gets its information from a combination of YouTube’s API data and scrapped data. The developers claim they “save all available data” to their database to ensure it will be available when YouTube shuts down the dislike counts in its API. In addition, they do have a plan for when YouTube removes the “dislike” field, although it’s not clear whether it’ll work out yet.
“With the removal of dislike stats from the YouTube API, our backend will switch to using a combination of scraped dislike stats, estimates extrapolated from extension user data and estimates based on viewlike ratios,” the developers wrote on Github.
Return YouTube Dislike isn’t perfect. The dislike counts are updated every 2-3 days, which is “not ideal,” the developers said, and something they’re working on.
The extension is free, although the developers are taking donations on Patreon and the Russian payments platform YooMoney.
Although I get why people are clamoring for the return of dislikes, as someone who prefers platforms that are not swamps of negativity, I don’t miss them. To each their own, I say. Enjoy your dislikes while you can.