Each year, the biggest and brightest stars in the YouTube world gather to film a massive tribute to the past 12 months of internet trends. The resulting video, dubbed YouTube Rewind, typically receives millions of views and features dozens of creators.
In the 2017 edition of YouTube Rewind, however, at least one notable YouTube star will not be present, even though the video site encouraged him to participate. Matthias, a creator known for his tech videos, declined an invite to the annual collaboration, citing YouTube’s continued lack of transparency with its community.
In a vlog, Matthias called his decision a “business move.” He said that so long as the video site continues to keep statistics like impressions and thumbnail clickthrough rates to itself, he refuses “to go dance around in a YouTube commercial.” He also decried YouTube’s habit of changing its policy without consulting people like him. “This isn’t a game, this isn’t something that you can tweak and change willy nilly,” he said. “People’s lives are depending on this and I desperately care about all of my crew’s lives, so I am going to take a stand when I feel like I need to.”
Matthias is one of the creators who has been affected by the so-called adpocalypse, which has led to an increased number of demonetized videos across the site. In fact, the video discussing his plan to skip YouTube Rewind was itself demonetized, as he explained in the comments.
So far, no other creators have commented on Matthias’ decision, though his principled stand could connect to others who feel frustrated by YouTube’s relationship with its creators. We’ll keep an eye out to see if the YouTube Rewind protest spreads to other channels.