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YouTube's 2018 recap becomes most disliked video ever posted on the site

Key Points
  • "YouTube Rewind 2018" racked up 10 million dislikes, beating out pop star Justin Bieber's 2010 song "Baby," which sits on 9.8 million dislikes.
  • The video depicts trends such as K-Pop and "mukbang" and includes celebrities such as Will Smith, John Oliver and Trevor Noah.
  • Responding to the online backlash against the video, a YouTube spokesperson said the firm was "pleased" with the performance of the clip.
"YouTube Rewind 2018" is written on a sign at YouTube's review of the year 2018.
Christoph Soeder | picture alliance | Getty Images

YouTube's 2018 "Rewind," a mashup of the biggest trends on the site this year, has become its most disliked video ever.

This year's annual recap has racked up 10 million dislikes, beating out pop star Justin Bieber's 2010 song "Baby," which sits on 9.8 million dislikes.

The clip has been criticized by content creators and viewers alike. The "Rewind" video depicts trends such as K-Pop and "mukbang" — where people share videos of themselves eating copious amounts of food — and includes celebrities such as Will Smith, John Oliver and Trevor Noah.

PewDiePie, the platform's most-subscribed user, along with a number of others, were deeply critical of the video, accusing it of prioritizing advertiser-friendly content and a more corporate image over performers, viewers and popular cultural moments.

"I'm almost glad that I'm not in it because it's such a cringey video at this point," PewDiePie, whose real name is Felix Skjellberg, said in a video posted to his channel last week. "It's so disconnected with the community and its creators."

One of the heavily publicized cultural events on YouTube that didn't get a mention in the video was a boxing match between prominent video makers Logan Paul and KSI. The two have a total of over 37 million subscribers between them, and the fight — which was also livestreamed on YouTube — sold more than 15,000 tickets.

Marques Brownlee, one of the YouTubers featured in the video, also weighed in. He argued the "Rewind" series had become increasingly convoluted and that the problem is that the platform is "trying to appeal to advertisers" while also trying to "make everyone happy."

"YouTube Rewind 2018" garnered millions of downvotes in just a matter of days since its release. However a spokesperson for the company, responding to the online backlash against the video, said YouTube was "pleased" with the performance of the clip.

"Every year when we release our Rewind video, our number one goal is getting the community to engage with it. This includes liking and disliking the video," a YouTube spokesperson told CNBC via email. "With millions of comments, millions of likes and dislikes, and more than 100 million views, we're pleased with the results."

YouTube later joked about the "new record" it scored in a tweet.

"Thanks to the creators that took part in Rewind, and the community that responded," the firm said in another tweet. "We hear what you're saying, and we want to make next year better for all of you. Watch this space!"

The Google-owned streaming service faced an advertiser exodus last year over the appearance of ads alongside hate and extremist content. YouTube has since tried to reform the platform, tightening its policies around egregious content and cracking down on users who fall foul of its rules.