4. “Charlie Bit My Finger” — May 22, 2007 ? 522,502,119
Ahh, the value of cute. Charlie and his brother Harry broke the mold on exploiting kids, puppies, cats and the like (sure, you internet purists will counter with Maru cat, most people will counter with “who?”). Once upon a time, videos like this would have earned the family a paltry $10,000 grand prize on “America’s Funniest Home Videos” — now these kids make much, much more with their YouTube channel and endorsement deals. “Charlie Bit My Finger” paved the way for parents to bank their children for millions.
3. “Star Wars Kid” — Jan. 15, 2006 ? 27,377,208
New-age bullying turned into high art. This video made YouTube into a community. We all came together to laugh at this fat dork who was caught playing with a golf ball retriever like it was a light saber. In fact, many people used special effects software to complete the fantasy. These days, people would make huge to-dos about the entirety of the online world laughing at some poor nerd, and somebody would start a fund to make him rich, but back then, the internet was just a little bit meaner and a little bit cooler.
2. “Innocence of Muslims” — Sept. 12, 2012 ? 1,930,293
This movie cost people their lives and coordinated with the Arab Spring to bring about an awareness most of the world had never experienced: namely, our actions have serious consequences. This anti-Muslim film made by a rank propagandist filmmaker took the world by storm when it was perceived that the film’s existence had cost an American Ambassador his life in Libya. Ultimately, the filmmaker was arrested, and several more uprisings had to be quelled. Say what you want, but Star Wars Kid never caused mass destruction, rioting and lethal chaos. And even more boldly, YouTube has stuck to their guns and allowed the video to stay up. Bravo, YouTube, bravo!