LED Seminar

May 12, 2023


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Marita Freimane (University of Zurich)

will give a presentation on 

Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down: Dislike Attacks and Content Creator Productivity on YouTube


Harassment can be harmful to mental health and reduce creativity and productivity. This paper provides evidence on the productivity effects of online harassment by examining a sudden and unanticipated change on YouTube where dislike counts were hidden from public view. Using detailed channel-level data, I show that this design change had several effects on content creators. First, harassment in form of “dislike attacks”, where users drive up dislike counts unrelated to video quality, decreases following this platform design change. Prior to this design change, women seem to have been more affected by this type of harassment. Second, this design change leads to a persistent increase in productivity for female, relative to male, content creators. Third, there is some evidence of redistribution of demand among content creators.

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