The Fall of Youtube Rewind
On December 6th, YouTube released their long-awaited 8th annual “YouTube Rewind” video on their spotlight channel, which has 23 million subscribers. Rewind quickly jumped to the top of YouTube’s trending videos as views quickly accumulated, but as fast as the viewership of the video rose, so did the dislikes. For the last eight years, YouTube has been releasing an end-of-the-year video that is meant to summarize the biggest moments, stars, videos, and trends of 2018 within YouTube, as well as the general content of the Internet. Over the years, these videos have become progressively grander, involving more stars, higher production quality, and greater shock value. As of now, YouTube Rewind has 2 million likes and 7.2 million dislikes, with just under 100 million views. It has been the most disliked YouTube rewind video to date; to put into comparison, Rewinds from 2013, 2014, and 2015 each have under 200,000 dislikes.
The number of dislikes on YouTube Rewind videos have been increasing over the years, which at first seems standard: as the YouTube community grows, so does votership. However, this extremely high number of dislikes is most certainly derived from an outside effect. If the dislikes don’t speak for themselves, then the plethora of negative and angry comments from viewers sure do.
Viewers have a wide array of critiques towards these videos, one of which is the omission of their favorite YouTubers. The world’s most subscribed-to YouTuber, PewDiePie, who has over 75 million subscribers, was not even featured in Rewind, a video meant to encapsulate the year of 2018 for the YouTube community. Aside from PewDiePie, other prominent content creators, who have created some of the top videos on the site this year, were not featured either, such as Shane Dawson or the Paul brothers. Other than that, there were also complaints about the oversaturation of individuals who don’t truly reflect YouTubers at their core and instead are TV or movie stars, such as Will Smith or Trevor Noah. There were also complaints about excessive references to Fortnite while influential members of the entertainment industry who passed this year were overlooked.
Over the years, YouTube has been criticized for the corporate and monopolistic changes they made to increase their own profits and disadvantage the content creators that fuel the site. Examples include algorithms that prevent viewers from accessing creators’ videos as easily or more stringent user guidelines that lead to frequent demonetization of YouTube videos. Viewers and content creators alike have begun to call out YouTube for its utter disregard towards their audience and the content they wish to see.
This Rewind is on its way to becoming YouTube’s most disliked video ever, soon to surpass Justin Bieber’s music video, “Baby,” which has 9.8 million dislikes. Despite this crushing blow for YouTube, hopefully this will be a wake up call for them to take advice from their viewership and modify their content and platform into something that their audience truly craves.