YouTube's experiment with hiding dislikes was apparently successful. The service is rolling out a change that will make dislike counts private for videos across YouTube. The button will still exist (and affect your recommendations), and producers can still see the count — you just won't see the numbers as a viewer.
The Google-owned brand is aware that some people used the counts to make viewing decisions, but felt secret counts would help the community at large. New and smaller creators are more often targeted by dislike campaigns, YouTube said, and the test reduced that harassment. The move will theoretically create an "inclusive and respectful" space where video makers both have a better chance to succeed and feel safe.
There's no guarantee this benefit will reach every user, or that it won't prompt determined harassers to find alternatives. It's also no secret YouTube has its own motivations as a victim of dislike attacks — just ask the Rewind 2018 team. All the same, this could discourage 'casual' abuses of the dislike button, not to mention brigading from groups hoping to suppress videos that clash with their views.