Last week, YouTube released its annual “Rewind” video, presenting a fun, family-friendly round-up of the hottest trends and biggest stars on the platform in the past year. As we noted, it was kind of impenetrable for anyone who doesn’t closely follow YouTube trends, which is a practice that seems exceedingly distasteful anyway since so many prominent YouTube personalities are totally shitty people, but even dedicated YouTube fans have been railing against the Rewind video for not properly capturing what they feel is the actual YouTube experience. As reported by the BBC, Rewind 2018 is now has the second-most dislike votes across all of YouTube, falling a few million short of Justin Bieber’s “Baby”—a song that happens to be eight years old.
So what happened? Well, digging into the politics of YouTube culture would be exhausting, but one of the core arguments against Rewind 2018 is that it favored real celebrities (like Will Smith) over some of the biggest YouTube stars. In fact, two of the biggest stars in YouTube history weren’t even mentioned, with both Logan Paul and PewDiePie being left out. YouTube’s reasoning for leaving them out should be obvious, since Paul has been utterly toxic since he showed an apparent suicide victim in one of his videos earlier this year and PewDiePie has a bad habit of being a racist piece of shit (not to mention that he’s the preferred YouTuber of Nazis all over the world and recently promoted an anti-Semitic profile).
The fact that YouTube fans are not only surprised by their omission but mad at YouTube over it is proof that there’s a huge disconnect between actual reality and YouTube’s perception of reality. YouTube wants to present its platform as a positive place to interact with cool people online, whether you’re doing Fortnite dances, offering supportive messages, or making funny songs, but apparently there are millions of people—7.6 million at the moment—who want to see their favorite assholes being pieces of shit. PewDiePie and Logan Paul are bad for YouTube though, as the platform itself has noted in the past when they’ve both fucked up, but they’re still hugely popular and bring a lot of viewers to YouTube.
Basically, YouTube has put itself in a no-win situation. It wants to be the wonderful outlet for positivity that it appeared to be in the Rewind video, but doing that requires ignoring negative influences like PewDiePie and Logan Paul. Unfortunately, ignoring them also draws the ire of their hordes of angry followers, resulting in a largely dull year-in-review round-up becoming one of the most-disliked videos in YouTube history. If YouTube did showcase Logan Paul and PewDiePie in Rewind, it would expose itself as the horrible platform that it sometimes can be, proving once and for all—as Twitter has done many times—that getting those clicks is literally all that matters.
In the end, YouTube probably deserves a lot of these dislike votes, even if we can’t all agree on why it deserves them.