Arts and Entertainment

YouTube Rewind: Why This Year’s Video Received So Much Hate

YouTube responded to the backlash from Rewind 2018 by playing it safe and making a recap of the most popular videos on the platform. However, people’s desire to criticize YouTube Rewind has caused it to be one of the most disliked videos on the platform.

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By Anita Wu

YouTube officially released a video titled “YouTube Rewind 2019: For the Record” on December 5, 2019. It has since received undeserved backlash from people for a variety of reasons.

YouTube Rewind is a video created by the online platform every year that recaps major internet landmarks, primarily events related to YouTube itself. Since their inception in 2010, the Rewinds did fairly well until 2015, when they received a lot of hate for either not accurately depicting the past year or their cringey concepts. The videos have only been decreasing in quality since then. In fact, last year’s “Everyone Controls Rewind” became the most disliked video on the platform, because people were angry that famous YouTubers like Pewdiepie weren’t featured. Additionally, unfunny jokes and sheer cringe were scattered throughout, such as the video game Fortnite, which was overly featured, and actor Will Smith’s role.

Previous YouTube Rewinds usually consisted of a funny sketch featuring big channels highlighting trends of the year. “Turn Down for 2014,” for example, recreated popular music videos such as Pharrell Williams’s “Happy.” Rewind 2018 technically did the same thing but with trends like mukbang and Fortnite. With this year’s video, there were many critiques made by its viewers; some, however, were quite unreasonable.

In response to last year’s backlash, YouTube played it safe in making a compilation of Top Ten lists highlighting everything from “Most Liked Music Videos” to “Top Breakout Creator.” Viewers pointed out its resemblance to a “WatchMojo” video, which is a channel notorious for its Top Ten videos. YouTube’s attempt to make something people couldn’t possibly hate—something that simply showed popular content on their platform—ended up even worse off, being criticized for cringiness, unoriginality, and low effort. YouTube even acknowledged in “For the Record” that they knew last year’s video was widely disliked and cringy, stating that they were trying to make something that appealed to the people and represented what they liked. Clearly, this plan didn’t work. As of now, the video has received eight million dislikes, making it the third most disliked video on the platform. However, this so-called “laziness” isn’t the only reason for its demise.

The main issue is that people love to hate YouTube Rewind. People wanted to see it fail, and they wanted to see the cringe because that has become a defining characteristic of YouTube Rewind. Instead, all they received was the safest recap of the year possible. No crazy skits, no featured creators (besides clips of their videos), and no personality or character, despite the crazy graphics and transitions. With what was given, people were not able to pick out something they could laugh at or make fun of. This year’s video simply was not memorable because of how bland it was. People constantly complained about past iterations, criticizing their cringe and begging YouTube to change the way they make these videos, such as by featuring certain creators and events who viewers felt deserved to be in Rewind. However, when YouTube actually listened and made those changes, people realized that they enjoyed being able to attack YouTube and that hating on it was what made the entire event more enjoyable.

The thing is, it’s not just Rewind that people love to bandwagon against. This type of culture is found all over the media. Truth be told, hate is one of the most unifying emotions. People love to collectively hate on one thing or one person, and this can become a real issue when it gets out of hand. This can be seen with celebrities, companies, and even certain products, in that a small incident or issue becomes magnified because of widespread hate. As a result, “cancel culture” has developed where people come together for the sole purpose of condemning someone or something. Now it has spread to YouTube Rewind, of which its declining quality has invited viewers to attack and constantly make fun of it. No matter what YouTube does, people are always going to find some way to hate on its yearly recaps. The mindset that “YouTube Rewind is bad” has been so ingrained into viewers’ minds that practically nothing can reverse this sentiment. There could even be a “perfect” YouTube Rewind by trying to incorporate creators and trends that people actually want to see in it, but YouTube wouldn’t appeal to everyone, and people would still find something to dislike. After all of the hate, backlash, and criticism this year’s video got, we can only wait and see what YouTube chooses to do next year.