YouTube Rewind 2019 Foreshadows the Site’s Boring Future in 2020

The video sharing platform learned from last year’s misstep — but this year’s edition shows the challenge YouTube has in the future

Chris Stokel-Walker
FFWD
Published in
4 min readDec 5, 2019

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Image: YouTube

Cast your minds back a year ago. YouTube unveiled its 2018 Rewind video, a monstrosity that started and ended with Will Smith’s beaming face, didn’t include some of the platform’s biggest — but most controversial names — and devoted an entire section to Ninja, a streamer best known for his videos on a platform that isn’t even YouTube.

Little wonder that the video became the most disliked video in YouTube history.

The Rewind video, posted annually at the end of the year since 2010, has long taken the role of a yardstick for the world’s biggest video sharing platform. In the early days, some of the site’s most riotous memes — the Old Spice guy, the Double Rainbow stoner — were the focus. When YouTube was hailed as the hot new thing revolutionizing the media industry, it was applauded and praised as an insight…

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Chris Stokel-Walker
FFWD
Editor for

UK-based freelancer for The Guardian, The Economist, BuzzFeed News, the BBC and more. Tell me your story, or get me to write for you: stokel@gmail.com