Charlie bit me  —  The staying power of one of YouTube’s original viral videos

Dec 6, 2018

Where were you on May 22nd, 2007? It was a simpler time. Apolo Anton Ohno won dancing with the stars, Guatemala ratified the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoptions, and a humble home video of wee baby Charlie biting his brother’s finger was uploaded to a relatively young video sharing website.

When Charlie bit my finger was published over 11 years ago, YouTube was a different place. The site had only recently been purchased by Google (Nov 13, 2006), and was just over 2 years removed from its very first video upload (“Me at the zoo” April 23, 2005).

It garnered millions of views, and became YouTube’s most viewed video, holding that title until music videos began dominating the top viewed list. So Charlie’s penchant for digital mastication must now be long forgotten, right? Even if the world was bizarrely reminded of Charlie in November of 2017, when it was revealed that a copy of the video was found on Osama Bin Laden’s computer, it’s been too long.

Times have changed, the news cycle moves at ludicrous speed, who’s thinking about little Charlie any longer? Well yesterday, 14,141 people thought about Charlie! Check out its activity over the past 3 months: it typically gets 19,406 views a day!

This continued growth has driven the video to accrue over 865 million views to date. And people are not only watching the video, they are also still using it in their own original content. As a random example?-?just the other day Pex found a zombified ‘duet’ of the famous bite scene posted by @deter_the_dub on TikTok. Countless others riff off it, or simply re-upload exact copies to their social media.

Well, not countless actually. Pex is counting as we track the performance of all videos uploaded to 23 different social platforms, and check for shared content among them. Today there are over 191,000 videos on the internet that include some if not all of the original Charlie bit me video. With 935 million cumulative views across those uploads, the views on copied content now surpass views on the original video by 70 million.

The top viewed videos with Charlie bit me content are:

Charlie bit my finger – again! has proven its staying power and arguably deserves a spot on YouTube’s Mount Rushmore. It’s one of the site’s viral videos founding fathers. To this day it continues to be copied, referenced, and viewed by a new generation. And perhaps most importantly for Charlie’s family, it continues to generate advertising revenue. Enjoy that college fund, Charlie!

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