YouTube Rewind 2018 is officially the most disliked video on YouTube

To say that this year’s YouTube Rewind didn’t go over well with the YouTube community would be quite an understatement. This year’s Rewind, an annual video made by YouTube that’s supposed to encompass a year in YouTube culture, is officially the most disliked video on the platform. It has more than 10 million dislikes, overtaking Justin Bieber’s 2010 song “Baby,” which has just under 10 million dislikes. While it took Bieber’s video approximately eight years to rack up that dislike count, YouTube Rewind beat it in closer to eight days.

It’s quite a feat, and a fascinating case of how an innocuous video used by YouTube’s marketing team to appeal to advertisers can have an adverse effect when it doesn’t put the community first.

Since YouTube Rewind was first published on December 6th, the backlash has been loud and constant. Creators who starred in it, like Marques Brownlee, have addressed the controversy, while other YouTubers work on their own versions of Rewind they view as more authentic. The backlash directed at YouTube for this year’s Rewind boils down to a growing disparity between the platform’s true creator culture and the polished version that YouTube wants to present.

“I think the problem with YouTube Rewind, at least how I see it, is pretty simple actually,” Brownlee said in a video. “YouTubers and creators and audiences see it as one thing and, YouTube, who’s in charge of making it, sees it as something completely different.”

A YouTube representative issued the following statement to The Verge, saying that “dethroning ‘Baby’ in dislikes wasn’t exactly our goal.”

“Honest feedback can suck, but we are listening and we appreciate how much people care,” the representative said. “Trying to capture the magic of YouTube in one single video is like trying to capture lightning in a bottle. We also learned that creating content can be really hard and this underscores our respect and admiration for YouTube creators doing it every day. Keep the feedback coming and maybe we’ll release a top 10 list of ‘Rewind dislike’ reaction videos.”

To understand why Rewind really affects creators, it’s important to understand how the video was first presented to the community in 2011. The first year YouTube decided to create a recap video, Rewind was narrated by Rebecca Black of “Friday” fame. The entire thing was a breakdown of the 10 most-watched videos — a straightforward highlight reel of what was popular, without any glossing over of strange, controversial, or otherwise less-savory behavior that YouTube might want to hide.

Between 2011 and 2014, YouTube Rewind was on the same page as its culture. It incorporated the biggest moments, most influential creators, and funny memes that the community also celebrated. Things really started changing in 2015, when YouTube went from an amateur DIY platform to an entertainment staple, but the most noticeable grievances began in 2017 and continued into 2018, as YouTube backed away from creators it previously highlighted. It’s a facet of the divide between YouTube and its community that commentator and anchor Philip DeFranco gets to in his video about the backlash.

“People are asking, ‘Where is PewDiePie?’ either him by himself or his battle with T-Series,” DeFranco said. “Where is Shane Dawson, who had arguably one of the biggest series on YouTube this year? What about a reference to KSI and Logan Paul making one of the biggest pay-per-view events ever?”

DeFranco said it could be that YouTube simply isn’t aware of what its “real community” is doing. But they might also be intentional snubs. “An argument has been made that it’s an attempt by YouTube to distance themselves from any controversy,” he says.

The end of 2016 started off one of YouTube’s most turbulent periods, which has continued until now, sloping and rising at certain times. New ad friendly policies were introduced, and creators rallied together to support each other and call out the platform. They were staring down the first wave of demonetization — an ongoing issue that pitted creators against the platform where a growing number of people were able to sustain themselves full time. Tensions grew. Things got worse in 2017 when PewDiePie, YouTube’s most popular creator, was caught in a controversy over anti-Semitic language appearing on his channel.

Between then and now, YouTube faced some of its biggest issues with creators, including Logan Paul’s controversy surrounding his time in Japan’s Aokigahara Forest. Advertisers fled, and YouTube’s executives found themselves in a balancing act trying to appease both creators and advertisers. Emphasis was placed on late-night shows and celebrities who launched channels on the platform in an attempt to prove to advertisers they would be safe from scrutiny. In the process, YouTube creators felt increasingly shunned.

Rewind is the culmination of that feeling. The community, which was once celebrated by YouTube, no longer feels included in the culture YouTube wants to promote. It’s unclear what the company will do going forward, but one thing’s for certain: YouTube Rewind is no longer a celebratory moment the community looks forward to.

Update December 13th, 1PM ET: A statement from YouTube was added to the story.


This is like the classic movie trope, except in real life. The lesson always is; never forget where you came from and who got you to where you are now. I hope we get to the third act soon where YouTube realises how they’ve treated their creators and does everything they can to make it right.

I see it more as the tragic hero who has fought so long and so hard to usher in a new world order, only to find that he has no place in this brave new world that he helped create.


Except that the hero only cares about making money and is making more than ever

who created what? youtube got bought, dont forget that. its exactly the same shit that happend to tumblr who now wants to ban all porn on their platform. they too got bought and its these new owners who are taking these desicions.

it happens so often and there are so many cases of this in many sectors.

Oooh I get it – you’re saying Youtube should add porn?

What makes you so sure that these creators made YouTube and it is not YouTube that made them?

YouTube didn’t snub "creators" in general. They snubbed a certain class of highly toxic, highly popular ones. YouTube was and will be fine without PewDiePie and Logan Paul, whereas the reverse wouldn’t be true.

at which point it’s a really a disliked video or just mass trolling to reach that goal

Agree 100%. I feel like the initial negative reaction was very much legitimate and genuine. Afterwards it felt like a campaign to get as many dislikes as possible, fueled by communities from Reddit and social media.

Like how everyone is subscribing to Pewdiepie just to keep him ahead of T-series, even if they may not necessarily care for his content?


Fun times.

I understand Pewdiepie subscribers want more representation of him in the Rewind video, but to my understanding his accomplishments were primarily achieved prior to the year 2018. He became #1 back in 2013. That’s a 2013 highlight or youtube overall highlight, that’s not new to 2018. I can’t think of any individual video that really stood out or took off this year.

Hating stuff is really popular. Just ask Blizzard and Bethesda.

Well, there are reasons to hate on Bethesda (not a Fallout fan but I can relate)

I’m sure there are reasons to not buy Fallout 76. Hating Bethesda seems…. excessive. It’s not like they’re Comcast and taking part in actually anti-consumer activities. But maybe I’m wrong. Change my mind.

That’s how people are… like with Apple. People don’t hate an iPhone, they outright hate Apple for whatever reason they can find or fabricate.

If my favourite game series (Forza) doesn’t turn out great, I’d be dissapointed but I agree, hate seems excessive.

I love Apple. Have since 1979.

Skyrim Special Edition doe sits best to break user MODS, there thats all yo uneed to know to realize where bethesda is going

Keep in mind All elder scrolls games since Morrowin have had user MODS and its what keeps ppl playing these games years after release, in many cases even over a decade and after release

Can you think of a reason why Bethesda might want to prevent its game from being modded, now? A business reason? For example, does Skyrim offer DLC which offer the same types of updated one might find in a mod? Or do mods have the potential to conflict with DLC that the company releases?

My guess would be that the hardcore modding community is a smaller than you think it is and perhaps Bethesda would prefer to have control over how its games evolve over time.

I don’t give a damn about fallout but bethesda have shown time and time again they don’t listen to their audience.

Also every game they release is bug ridden.

Those sound like excellent reasons not to buy their games.
Shareholders look at sales, revenue and market share, not necessarily fan complaints. Sure sometimes complaints or backlash gets amplified enough to enter more into the mainstream and some people may come across some of that if they really look for it, but it’s tough for anything like that to overshadow favorable results in the marketplace.

I don’t think the video itself is disliked. People down-voted it because of what YouTube attempted to do with it. In that sense it was a very deliberate protest and far from being a "massive trolling".

Also because the video was pretty bad though..

I disliked the video. It’s bad.

I’d argue that in this instance the "trolling" and genuine dislike overlap. The video was up for a good 48 hours and had at least 4 million "candid" dislikes before people realized they could get it to the top of the list and started pushing for that. I watched it the day it went up, thought it was a stupid, tone deaf, messy edit of a video and hit the dislike button before I read the count, which was already well above a million at that point.

YouTube seriously messed up this one, there’s no denying that.

It’s still a bad video.

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