“But 2020 has been different,” the company said in a statement posted on its Twitter page. “And it doesn’t feel right to carry on as if it weren’t. So, we’re taking a break from Rewind this year.”
In some ways, Google-owned YouTube has had a good year — with so many people staying home to reduce the spread of the coronavirus, views have skyrocketed. During company earnings last month, YouTube reported paid subscribers had increased to 30 million, up from 20 million at the end of last year.
But YouTube has also been in the crosshairs of a fraught election season, where social media companies have been criticized for their role in allowing misinformation to spread.
YouTube’s Rewind video hasn’t always been a fun-loving, scandal-free, 10-minute year-in-review. Its 2018 look-back was hit with significant backlash and quickly became the most disliked video in YouTube’s history. It still has more than 18 million downvotes on the site. Creators, many of whom base their whole businesses on the streaming site, criticized the company for featuring mainstream celebrities including Will Smith and seemingly appealing more to advertisers than actual viewers and makers.
In 2019, YouTube offered a mea culpa of sorts by showcasing the biggest moments on the site that year, including popular but controversial star PewDiePie.
This year, YouTube seems to recognize that despite it being a year packed full of news, it can’t hope to hit quite the right tone for what has been a trying 2020 for many. In its statement, it thanked creators for still finding ways to make people laugh and help them cope this year.
Writer Hank Green, whose YouTube channel vlogbrothers has more than 3 million subscribers, lauded YouTube’s decision on Twitter.
“Yeah, this sounds like the right call,” he wrote.