“It’s hard to say, but one thing is for sure. The ‘thumbs up/like’ button is dumbing us down. It has killed critical thinking and meaningful discussions in the comments.”
I see value in having the buttons on outside sites. For instance if I put a Facebook like button on my blogposts it will get shared to the users friends on Facebook. Getting ideas in front of new people, that’s a really good thing.
Internally on Facebook and YouTube it just promotes trolling for likes, that’s where I agree 100%.