“[O]ne record we definitely didn’t set out to break was the most-disliked video on the internet,” Wojcicki wrote a blog post, part of her regular updates to the YouTube community. “Even at home, my kids told me our 2018 Rewind was ‘cringey.'” Her kids are 8 and 10 years old.
Wojcicki continued, “We hear you that it didn’t accurately show the year’s key moments, nor did it reflect the YouTube you know. We’ll do better to tell our story in 2019.”
In less than one week after its launch in December 2018, YouTube Rewind 2018 registered the most dislikes of any video on the platform. It currently has 15 million dislikes, handily beating the previous record holder — Justin Bieber’s 2010 “Baby” (which has 10 million dislikes).
Critics complained that YouTube’s 2018 edition of Rewind was tone-deaf to the video platform’s community, with a video that featured mainstream celebs like Will Smith, Trevor Noah and John Oliver and ignored many “native” YouTubers.
In a development that may or may not be related to the YouTube Rewind debacle, YouTube is testing out ways to thwart “dislike mobs” from ganging up on a video to push up its dislike numbers. One idea YouTube is considering is introducing a checkbox asking a user why they didn’t like a video. “That could give the creator more information, and it would also give viewers pause instead of just doing it impulsively,” Tom Leung, director of project management at YouTube, said in a video posted last week on the service’s Creator Insider channel.
Also in her letter outlining YouTube’s priorities for 2019, Wojcicki continued the lobbying campaign against the European Union’s proposed revisions to copyright law. Specifically, Article 13 of the revised EU copyright laws would require internet platforms like YouTube to proactively block uploads of copyrighted material — a step that YouTube is claiming would have devastating effects on the livelihoods of creators not only in Europe but around the world.
“The debate around Article 13 remains ongoing,” she wrote. “This could be decided in the next few weeks, so please keep speaking out on this critical issue for all YouTube creators.” Wojcicki noted that nearly 4.6 million people have signed a petition on Change.org urging members of the European Parliament to “Recognize the consequences the proposed drafts would have for the private user as well as for the economy.”
Also, as revealed on Alphabet’s Q4 earnings call Monday, Wojcicki also called out the stat that number of YouTube channels with over 1 million subscribers nearly doubled in the last year and that the number of creators earning five or six figures in 2018 grew more than 40%. “You’re creating the next generation of media companies and we’re thrilled to see how much the YouTube creator economy is thriving,” she wrote.