The Most Disliked Video On YouTube Has Over 220 Million Views

It's hard to figure out which fact is more ironic: the most disliked video on YouTube of all time has nevertheless been viewed a mind-boggling 220 million times and counting or that said video is actually a product of YouTube itself.  According to Guinness World Records, "YouTube Rewind 2018: Everyone Controls Rewind,"  had 19,124,328 dislikes as of April 22, 2021, and was "widely pilloried for its outdated and off-the-mark content." As reported by The Verge, within the first eight days of its release, it beat the video for Justin Bieber's song "Baby" as the most disliked video on the platform with 10 million dislikes — a level of hatred that "Baby" took eight years to achieve. 

So what was the problem? YouTube, which hosted its first video back in 2005, first started releasing an end of the year recap video in 2011. Hosted by Rebecca Black of "Friday" fame, it was a relatively simple look back at the 10 most popular videos of the year. For the next few years, YouTube continued using a similar template for their end of the year Rewind video, but by 2015, YouTube had changed as a platform. Until then, the site had been primarily used by amateurs to produce DIY content. Per Hootsuite, in 2015 YouTube began more intently measuring viewer satisfaction and personalizing the algorithms that recommend videos to viewers. The Verge calls the post-2015 YouTube an "entertainment staple." Longtime creators who had made YouTube popular in the first place soon began noting that the platform now prioritized advertisers' satisfaction over all else. 

Was the 2018 recap video made for the community or for advertisers?

Dissatisfaction with YouTube's new practices came to a head in 2018 with their year-end recap video. As reported by Forbes, despite the recap being more diverse than ever before in highlighting non-English speaking creators and giving lip service to women's empowerment, Asian representation, and prioritizing mental health, and even taking suggestions from user comments about what to include in the recap, it instantly bombed, perhaps because it didn't actually link these topics to movements within the YouTube community. The (understandable) absence of controversial YouTube star PewDiePie was notable, who despite being the most popular YouTuber at the time was left out of the recap for the second year in a row thanks to sexist, racist, and anti-Semitic comments made during his videos. Another noted absence was that of Logan Paul who had filmed and broadcast the dead body of a suicide victim in Japan's Aokigahara forest. 

These absences made sense, but it wasn't just controversial creators who were ignored. The 2017 video had featured over 250 YouTube creators, while the 2018 version included just 100. Several creators it did feature like Lily Singh, Casey Neistat, and Lisa Koshy had started on YouTube but by the end of 2018 had moved on to attempt more mainstream success. In 2019, YouTube went so far as to use their year-end recap video to apologize for the 2018 video, kicking it off with people's disgusted reactions to the sheer cringe of it all. As of this writing, it has 3.4 million likes ... and 9.5 million dislikes. There was no 2020 recap video.