Update - 13.Dec: As of today, the 2018 YouTube Rewind has now overtaken 'Baby' to become the most disliked video on YouTube, with 9.8 million downvotes. The original story follows.
The 2018 YouTube Rewind has not been well received by the site’s users, who have reacted with a blizzard of downvotes, totaling 8.2 million dislikes, compared to 2 million likes.
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This is the 8th YouTube Rewind, the first being made in 2010. The series began, as YouTube did, featuring homegrown creators getting together to make a big silly video about the year’s trends. Since then, YouTube’s been adopted by more established forms of media, and since they are a more dependable source of advertising revenue, and aren’t prone to causing costly controversies as some of the original talent has done, it’s where YouTube’s attention has gone.
Smaller channels and personalities have disappeared in favor of only the largest names, and then some stars for whom YouTube is very much a secondary concern, examples this year being actor Will Smith, and comedy hosts Trevor Noah and John Oliver. As a result, many YouTube users have seen the more recent Rewinds as a betrayal of the site’s original goals, and this one has sent the hive mind over the edge into a mission to show their disgust for the video.
Now it’s a race to the bottom to see how fast (the fact it is going to happen seems to be a given already) YouTube Rewind 2018 can hit 9.7 million dislikes - the total given to Justin Bieber’s breakout single “Baby”. The really striking fact is that Bieber’s song is as old as the Rewind series itself - the song was published in 2010.
So the hatred, both genuine and claimed, for the song has had its time. The YouTube Rewind is still very fresh in people’s minds, and has become a serious rival in less than a week.
It’s hard to give space to the now incredibly diverse range of content that the platform supports, both homegrown and studio-created. This year’s rewind video swings between Fortnite, dancing and animated skits to then talking about charity, mental health and minority representation, then to viral videos like Kanye West’s “I Love It” video and Tesla Motors’ Starman, to the ASMR community. All are valid and popular parts of YouTube, but it also means that with the best will in the world, it’s hard to make a cohesive video without leaving something enormous out.
All the same, unless some kind of campaign is formed to keep Baby’s spot as best of the worst, it will be overtaken shortly by the Rewind. This kind of thing is not without precedent; the recent effort to give PewDiePie the most subscribers on YouTube instead of Indian music video channel T-Series is evidence of that.
You might want to check back every so often to see if it does ever break into the coveted number one most-disliked spot.
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Richard is based in London, covering news, reviews and how-tos for phones, tablets, gaming, and whatever else people need advice on. Following on from his MA in Magazine Journalism at the University of Sheffield, he's also written for WIRED U.K., The Register and Creative Bloq. When not at work, he's likely thinking about how to brew the perfect cup of specialty coffee.