A small, unassuming video went viral on YouTube in May 2016. A lady bought a Chewbacca mask, put it on, and couldn’t contain her excitement and happiness, laughing hysterically as she filmed herself. “Chewbacca Mom” is sweet and funny at best, and completely unmissable at worst. And yet, more than 3,500 people have felt compelled to dislike the video at the time of writing.
YouTube’s Dislike button is a strange one. It can have several meanings, from actual hatred to marking your protest at a video’s popularity. And hey, popular YouTube videos can be pretty weird, you know.
No matter how it is used, a high Dislike count is an indicator of some sentiment that the public shares. We previously took a look at the most disliked videos on YouTube in April 2011, and a lot has changed in the meantime…
The Most Disliked Video of All Time
Baby, by Justin Bieber | 6.2 million Dislikes
YouTube giveth and YouTube taketh away. Justin Bieber was one of the first big talents to be discovered through YouTube, landing a record deal after a producer saw a video of him singing. Who would have thought that he would one day have the notoriety of uploading the most disliked YouTube video of all time, for his song Baby.
Love him or loathe him, Bieber has legions of “Beliebers” across the world, but the Internet loves to hate Justin Bieber, with reasons ranging from his celebrity meltdowns to a perceived lack of talent. With Baby, it’s almost like YouTube rallied together to target this one video and show their distaste for him. Despite his fans’ best efforts, the haters have won. Baby has over 1.3 billion (yes, billion) views, and the Dislikes outnumber the Likes by over two million.
Bieber also features several more times in the list of the most disliked YouTube videos of all time. Which leads us to label him the most disliked YouTube star of all time.
Don’t Mess With Gamers!
Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare Reveal Trailer | 2.6 million Dislikes
The Call of Duty (CoD) franchise is one of the greatest video game franchises of all time, but it seems like developer Activision needs to reconnect with its fans. The trailer for the latest installment, Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, did not go down well with gamers who relentlessly hammered the Dislike button to make it the second most disliked video ever.
Why do fans hate it so much? Activision CEO Eric Hirshberg said that gamers aren’t happy with the direction CoD is going in, as it takes a futuristic war scenario by sending soldiers into battles in space or using drones, which takes the player away from the gritty realism that the franchise was once loved for. But even that doesn’t explain the disproportionately high number of Dislikes, and some observers like Tech Times think something fishy is going on.
Watch the trailer, and if you’re disappointed, take a look at some awesome gaming YouTube channels to get over your pain.
Psy and the Love-Hate Relationship
Gangnam Style by Psy | 1.5 million Dislikes
Korean pop star Psy went viral in 2012 with the music video for Gangnam Style, complete with its iconic dance. And the Internet has a weird love-hate relationship with him. Gangnam Style is the fourth most disliked video on YouTube, but also sits at the top of the lists of most liked videos and most watched videos on YouTube. Seriously, it literally broke YouTube, with the result being that engineers had to upgrade the number of views allowed for a video.
So why does it have such a high number of Dislikes? It’s hard to say. But as we discovered when we looked at the most annoying music videos on YouTube, a surprising number of people genuinely despise Gangnam Style. Maybe it’s the silly dance, maybe it’s the over-the-top production, or maybe it’s just because the song is not sung in English (for the most part).
Whatever the reason, Psy’s popularity on YouTube also got his follow-up video, Gentleman, into the list, as it garnered almost 700,000 Dislikes.
What Comes Before Saturday?
Friday by Rebecca Black | 2.1 million Dislikes
You knew you couldn’t escape this one, right? Rebecca Black shot to fame for all the wrong reasons, as her song Friday became one of the most viral — and most hated — videos on YouTube. NME even put it at the top of its list of “The 50 Worst Music Videos of All Time”.
Black was apparently hurt by the Dislikes and nasty comments, but refused to take the video down since it would be playing into the hands of the haters. The rapidly rising view count and subsequent ad dollars must have helped ease the pain.
OK, so Friday uses autotune and the lyrics are bad and the video looks amateurish, but you know what the most annoying part is? It’s a weirdly catchy tune that gets stuck in your head. Gah!
Eventually, everyone moved on and Black released another single called My Moment. It’s currently #14 on the list of most disliked videos, with 715k thumbs-downs. So it turns out that, on occasion, those Dislikes CAN be an indication of quality after all.
I Ain’t Afraid of No Misogyny
Ghostbusters (2016) Official Trailer | 845k Dislikes
A whole new Ghostbusters movie should be good news, right? Right. But when the all-female cast was announced, the Internet showed its uglier side. Harassment of females on Twitter is a huge issue already, and this was made worse when the actors involved were bombarded with boycott threats, personal attacks, and other vitriolic trolling after the movie was announced. Is it surprising then that the first official trailer of the film riled up the “Our Ghostbusters can’t be women!” brigade?
Don’t be mistaken, this trailer’s huge number of Dislikes is because of sexism. That huge number doesn’t rack up based purely on quality.
This year’s Superman vs. Batman: Dawn of Justice was panned as a movie, and had to field negative reactions for all its teasers and trailers. You know how many Dislikes it got? A little over 16k. Heck, add up both the official trailers as well as the Comic-Con trailer and the Dislikes total less than 50k across three separate videos.
Compare that to a single Ghostbusters trailer and the inference is pretty clear: hitting Dislike here is not a judgement of quality, it’s about sending a political message to Hollywood.
Strong by Rick Perry | 838k Dislikes
Before the 2012 U.S. Presidential Elections, the Republican Party was still trying to figure out who it should choose as its candidate. Texas Governor Rick Perry wanted the chance and released an ad on YouTube that backfired spectacularly.
Titled Strong, the ad was panned for its intolerant messages about homosexuals serving in the U.S. military, as well as its push for teaching religion in schools. After a barrage of comments that criticized the Governor for his backwards views, along with several personal attacks, Perry’s campaign had to disable the Comments section.
Trump might be your fault, but Perry was your victory, Internet!
Stop The Music!
Wrecking Ball, by Miley Cyrus | 1.2 million Dislikes
In the history of music videos, popularity doesn’t always mean quality. This is clearly evident with the most disliked list, as 22 of the top 30 are music videos. Leaving aside Bieber, Psy, and Black — all of whom are YouTube sensations first and pop stars second.
Among the established musicians, Miley Cyrus tops the list with Wrecking Ball, which was also her “coming of age” video. It was quite risque and a change of her wholesome image up to that point, so it’s no surprise that the Dislikes flowed in and other YouTubers started mocking Miley with Wrecking Ball parodies.
Other notable music videos that are high in the list are Miley’s We Can’t Stop (~1.2 million Dislikes), Nicki Minaj’s Anaconda (~1.1 million Dislikes) and Stupid Hoe (~829k Dislikes), Katy Perry’s Dark Horse (~623k Dislikes) and Taylor Swift’s Shake It Off (~536k Dislikes).
Can You Explain This?
You can watch all of the above videos and more in a playlist of the most disliked videos on YouTube. Go through them and tell us your thoughts. Can you figure out why Gangnam Style has overwhelming numbers of both Likes and Dislikes? Is the Ghostbusters failure all about sexism? Do music videos deserve a better chance?
Apart from those, also check out Brazilian YouTuber Aruan Felix’s video above, which currently has 2 million Dislikes. The video shows Felix destroy his YouTube Silver Button plaque, given to him for reaching 100,000 subscribers. It seems like a silly video but I can’t figure out why it has that huge number of Dislikes. Can you? Answers
on a postcard in the comments below, please.
Image Credit: disgusted young woman by STUDIO GRAND OUEST via Shutterstock