Evaluative Patterns and Incentives in YouTube

Adiya Abisheva, David Garcia and Frank Schweitzer

Social Informatics (2017)


Users of social media are not only producers and consumers of online content, they also evaluate each other’s content. Some social media include the possibility to down vote or dislike the content posted by other users, posing the risk that users who receive dislikes might be more likely to become inactive, especially if the disliked content is about a person. We analyzed the data on more than 150,000 YouTube videos to understand how video impact and user incentives can be related to the possibility to dislike user content. We processed images related to videos to identify faces and quantify if evaluating content related to people is connected to disliking patterns. We found that videos with faces on their images tend to have less dislikes if they are posted by male users, but the effect is not present for female users. On the contrary, videos with faces and posted by female users attract more views and likes. Analyzing the probability of users to become inactive, we find that receiving dislikes is associated with users becoming inactive. This pattern is stronger when dislikes are given to videos with faces, showing that negative evaluations about people have a stronger association with user inactivity. Our results show that user evaluations in social media are a multi - faceted phenomenon that requires large - scale quantitative analyses, identifying under which conditions users disencourage other users from being active in social media.