Want CNET to notify you of price drops and the latest stories?

Even YouTube CEO's kids said Rewind was 'cringey' last year

"One record we definitely didn't set out to break was the most disliked video on the Internet," YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki said.

Joan E. Solsman Former Senior Reporter
Joan E. Solsman was CNET's senior media reporter, covering the intersection of entertainment and technology. She's reported from locations spanning from Disneyland to Serbian refugee camps, and she previously wrote for Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal. She bikes to get almost everywhere and has been doored only once.
Expertise Streaming video, film, television and music; virtual, augmented and mixed reality; deep fakes and synthetic media; content moderation and misinformation online Credentials
  • Three Folio Eddie award wins: 2018 science & technology writing (Cartoon bunnies are hacking your brain), 2021 analysis (Deepfakes' election threat isn't what you'd think) and 2022 culture article (Apple's CODA Takes You Into an Inner World of Sign)
Joan E. Solsman
2 min read
Cannes Lions Festival 2018: Day 2

YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki

Getty Images

In a post on Tuesday about her 2019 goals, YouTube Chief Executive Susan Wojcicki touted several milestones Google's massive video site surpassed last year, and she fessed up to one she wasn't proud of. 

"One record we definitely didn't set out to break was the most disliked video on the Internet," she said. "Even at home, my kids told me our 2018 Rewind was 'cringey.'"

YouTube Rewind is the service's annual video tribute to the service's biggest pop culture moments, memes and personalities from the year. Last year's edition went on to become the most-disliked clip on YouTube's platform. Some vocal factions protested the absence of Pewdiepie, who holds the title for YouTube's most subscribed channel, but as broad-based complaints about the video piled up, disliking the latest Rewind became a sport unto itself. 

Tuesday, Wojcicki said the company would "do better to tell our story" this year. 

On a more positive front, Wojcicki said that YouTube channels with more than 1 million subscribers "nearly doubled" in the last year. The number of YouTube creators who earned five or six figures in the last year grew more than 40 percent, she said.

Looking ahead, Wojcicki said her priorities for YouTube included "supporting creator and artist success," "improving communication and engagement," and "living up to our responsibility." 

"Most" of the advertisers that withdrew from YouTube leading up to 2018 have returned because of the company's work to keep ads away from objectionable content on YouTube, she added. 

Over the last two years, the company has been juggling competing demands about advertising, facing brands who demanded safe spaces for their advertising on YouTube while dealing with members of YouTube's creator community who claimed clips were improperly "demonetized."

Tuesday, Wojcicki said that the company has been improving its demonetization "classifiers" so that it's better at pinpointing only videos that violate its rules for being an advertising friendly clip. YouTube increased the accuracy of its monetization icons -- which signal the advertising status of videos for creators -- by 40 percent, she said, and the company is also making it easier for creators to appeal. 

Tech Culture: From film and television to social media and games, here's your place for the lighter side of tech. 

The Smartest Stuff: Innovators are thinking up new ways to make you, and the things around you, smarter.