How the annual review of events on YouTube began a civil war

Original author: Kevin Roose
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You might decide that a reliable way to make a hit video for YouTube is to collect a bunch of megastars YouTube, make a video of how they rant about the most popular topics of the year, and release the result as an annual review of events.

And you would be mistaken.

A couple of weeks ago, YouTube tested this theory by releasing the annual YouTube retrospective Rewind. The eight-minute video was crammed with YouTube-related meta-humor, references to YouTube stars (Ninja! The Try Guys! Bongo Cat!) And familiar stars (Will Smith! Trevor Noah! John Oliver!). The video was cleverly produced and looked solid, mentioned the popular game Fortnite, popular video formats and sang praise to the variety and inclusiveness of YouTube.

This was supposed to be a celebration of the whole year of YouTube’s creative success, but the video caused a real storm and led to a minus campaign , which itself became a meme. 48 hours before the video put dizlik more than 4 million people. Last week, the video received the most dizlike in the entire history of the site, collecting more than 10 million, and beating the previous record holder, the video for Justin Bieber’s song, Baby.

It turns out that so many YouTube fans got angry with what was not in this video. Many of the most memorable moments of the year - the August boxing match between KSI and Logan Paul, two stars of UT, whose fight has become a popular performance, followed by millions - left behind the scenes. Some of the most famous YouTube were missing, including Felix Kjelberg, known as PewDiePie, one of the most popular creators in UT history, who most recently appeared in the annual review of Rewind in 2016.

Some YouTube users liked the video . But many perceived it as evidence that the UT company insults the UT community by slipping into the company of local creative leaders a handful of generally accepted stars, and smoothing out the main points in order to get advertising scenes.

“It’s completely divorced from the community and its authors,” said Kjelberg, who called this year’s Rewind compilation “a catastrophe filmed” in his own video review .

Ethan Klein, another popular yutuber, published his review entitled “It's time to stop YouTube Rewind”.

Marquez Brownlee, the author of UT, who was included in Rewind, made his video on his motive called “The Problem with YouTube Rewind”, where he more calmly explained that the main problem of the video was that he tried to please two incomparable audiences - authors wanting get the full breadth of the response from UT, and advertisers who need to be convinced that you can safely spend money on this platform.

UT spokesperson, Andrea Favil, said that “they didn’t have such a goal as dropping the Baby clip from the throne”. She added: “We may not like honest reviews, but we listen to them and are grateful for how much people care. Trying to express all the magic of UT in one video is like trying to drive a lightning into a bottle. We also learned that creating good content is hard - with this we emphasize our respect and admiration for the authors of UT who do this every day. ”

Favil's statement ended with an animated excerpt from the cartoon about Bob's sponge:

UT's decision to fit within the G rating can be understood. Advertisers have been suspicious of the platform since last year’s disclosure of the fact that UT algorithms put some commercials in videos containing extremist materials, racist content and hate speech texts. This has led some advertisers to stop advertising on UT. After that, the service tightened the monetization rules, limited the set of videos that can make money through advertising, which caused a new conflict with the authors, who called it “adpokalipsis” [from (ad) vertisement - advertising].

It is also natural that UT avoids advertising authors with controversial creativity. Paul, with 18 million subscribers and one of the most famous YouTube, spent most of the year smoothing his blame for the unfortunate episode in which he removed a corpse hanging from a tree in the Japanese "suicide forest". With over 76 million subscribers, Kjelberg has been constantly criticized for his behavior in front of the camera, including Nazi jokes and the exaltation of the anti-Semitic UT channels .

Swearing between the service and its authors is not a new phenomenon. However, disputes over Rewind are a signal of larger problems of UT, trying to present itself as a stronghold of cold-blooded and inclusive creativity, despite the fact that he is accused of radicalizationgenerations of young people whom he allegedly pushes towards ever more extreme content, allowing reactionary fanatics and lovers of conspiracy theories to dominate the platform.

Attempts of UT are complicated by the fact that the service actually has a lot of diverse and interesting authors making exciting videos. However, these voices can hardly be heard behind the roar of the most odious figures. On YouTube, Rewind did not mention Alex Jones, the founder of the Infowars website dedicated to conspiracy theories [and not only] that created an UT empire with millions of subscribers, whose videos scored more than 1.6 billion views. Nobody mentioned the group of political YouTube that make up " an alternative network of influence"as Rebecca Lewis from the Data and Social Studies Institute calls her a cohort of video authors who use them to promote radical right-wing ideas.

Last year, UT's service made excellent attempts to clean up the platform. This summer, the service banned Alex Jones for inciting hatred, [ not everything so unambiguously / comment transl.] and tried to make so that video related to conspiracy theories did not fall into sections of popular ones .

However, people like Kjelberg and Paul - the stars who gained popularity thanks to UT, and still collecting tens of millions of views a month - maintain dysfunctional relationships with the platform. UT does not want to encourage their behavior, promoting their videos officially, but at the same time does not want to quarrel with their large and passionate audiences. And since other platforms cannot boast of such large audiences and earning potential, they are stuck in unpleasant purgatory, and make offended videos about how unfairly UT dealt with them, while trying not to cross the line beyond which they can be banned or not give them money to make videos.

This tense relationship - between the image of the service, which is building up a supportive and tolerant space and the people behind the most popular content of the platform - is at the center of disputes about YouTube Rewind. If UT tried to create a correct picture representing the most popular faces of the service, he would have to include fanatics, reactionaries and young fans of humor on the edge of the video. A review of past events at UT, which included only a demonstration of tolerance and pluralism, resembles a sample of frames from a meteorological show, where only clear days are shown. It is possible to look at it more pleasantly, but it does not convey the real state of the weather.

There is nothing wrong with UT showing in the summing-up of the year a video of the good work done on the platform. It is a pity that for this the platform has to cut out a large part of its history from the script. Perhaps, instead of trying to please everyone next year, the service will have to become more similar to how he presented himself in this year’s overview video - as a platform, which he clearly wants to become.

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