YouTuber Bianca "Bibi" Claßen and rapper Olexesh stand in front of a YouTube logo on YouTube Space Berlin’s annual review 2018. There’s a certain irony in a video made by YouTube being the most disliked video on YouTube.
If there’s no such thing as bad publicity, then there’s probably no such thing as too many "dislikes," either. And while social media often seems like a popularity contest to garner the most "likes," excessive dislikes often have the same effect — clicks, views and general buzz. The only difference is that people tend to "hate watch" the YouTube video over and over, instead of for general enjoyment.
Buzz was certainly the word for "YouTube Rewind 2018: Everyone Controls YouTube," the reigning video with the most dislikes in the history of YouTube, according to Digital Trends. As of May 2021 the cringe-worthy compilation video has 19 million dislikes, 10 million of which were made in the first week. Yikes. By comparison, the video’s 3 million likes are just sad.
In the video description, YouTube Rewind 2018 was created to celebrate, "the videos, people, music and moments that defined 2018." To be fair, the creators didn’t have much good stuff to work with that year. 2018 was rife with annoying, totally overdone trends and memes, such as "Baby Shark" and endless Fortnite flossing, both of which figure prominently. (BTW, the "Baby Shark" video also happens to be No. 3 on the "most-disliked YouTube video" list with the "Sadak 2" movie trailer fitting in at No. 2).
Of the many, many complaints noted about the video, the run-time is one of the most cited. At eight minutes, 13 seconds it’s stacked with far more uncomfortable and downright cheesy moments than are really necessary. Peppered liberally throughout the video are near-seizure-inducing clips intended to represent the year, set to fast-paced music. But the worst part is in the middle: after an homage to the "In My Feelings" dance craze, the video abruptly changes course and turns horrifyingly somber, giving shoutouts to random causes — whether it’s refugees, mental health, working mothers, sustainability, Asian representation and even drag queens. Mind you, they don’t say anything actually about these issues or people. They just bring them up. For a moment.
"Honest feedback can suck, but we are listening and we appreciate how much people care. 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," a YouTube representative told The Verge in a statement back in 2018.
With more than 130 YouTube stars and celebrities, the video is overkill central, so even the most devoted viewer is unlikely to recognize more than a few. And the random placement of otherwise beloved actor Will Smith at the beginning and the end just added to the confusion. "That’s hot," he proclaims. Um, no Will. All of the evidence points to the video not being hot at all. At least, not in a good way.
Now That’s Entertaining
Even if the video itself is painful, at least there’s the comments section to look forward to. A few favorites: "When my kids act up they will watch this on loop until they learn what they have done" – Scarface. "2018: we tried but failed horribly. 2019: we didn’t even try. 2020: we didn’t even make one" – Preston Church. "Fun fact: There are more dislikes on this video than people in the entire country of Kazakhstan" – Marus Eyes.