Facebook Video – Lies, Deceit and Freebooting

There has been uproar from content creators from across the globe after a recent report from Ogilvy and Tubular Labs which states; out of the 1000 most popular videos on Facebook in the first quarter of 2015, 725 were freebooted videos. Freebooting is the unauthorised re-hosting of online media, in this case, videos. Now it’s no secret that Youtube itself was technically built on copyright infringement itself from the uploaded music videos and tv shows, however, that is beside’s the point.

These 725 stolen videos were responsible for over 17 billion views, that’ 17 billion views that the original owner doesn’t get credit for and sometimes doesn’t even realise. This could equate to millions of lost revenue due to the adverts placed on Youtube. But why are people stealing other people’s content?

Because Facebook Made Them Do It!

No, really! If you would like to put a video on Facebook, instead of pasting in the Youtube link many people are uploading the videos directly to Facebook. Why, you ask? Because Facebook is being greedy!

If you upload a video natively to Facebook (through their video uploader) then the video appears in everybody’s news feeds, whereas if you link to a Vine or Youtube video it’s a lot harder to get the same reach or “views”. Social Media users are obsessed with metrics and so will do anything to get more views etc, so downloading then re-uploading the video makes sense.

Facebook directly admits that they do penalise videos from other sources, which we can’t particularly moan about, they’re only trying to get more people to use Facebook Video… But there’s more to the story.

The Lies Begin…

Facebook’s analytics aren’t exactly what you thought they’d be.  They are misleading and considering many marketers act on these metrics, Facebook are abusing their power.

A view to Facebook:-

The view count on Facebook video is not reliable. Facebook counts a view as anybody sees the video and it plays for more than 3 seconds (with or without sound). Most people will have already scrolled past the video without watching, leaving the video playing silently above in your newsfeed. Now do these actually count as views? No. These metrics are pointless to us as marketers or small business owners.

A view to Youtube:-

Views on Youtube are done after the viewer has reached 30 seconds, much more valuable data. Most people who watch a video for 30 seconds will watch it all the way through and so Youtube’s view count is more reliable and gives you a better insight.

If you are deciding between Youtube and Facebook, then trust Youtube’s metrics and not Facebook’s. If Facebook worked out the views correctly then they would equate to around 1/4 of those from Youtube.

Are They Doing Anything About Copyright Infringement?

Yes of course! Taking down the videos a few days later, after of course it’s got most of it’s views.

Many creators are venting their frustrations on Twitter and Facebook (ironically), but many feel like there’s nothing they can do, after all, it is Facebook we’re talking about here.

What Should Be Done About It?

After Youtube became huge due to either copyrighted material or user-generated content, Google fixed this with Content ID, the system that analyzes all uploaded content against a huge database of known owned content. After this was brought in, the owners of the content can either choose to have it removed or generate revenue from the video through ads. However, even with $234 million market value, Facebook will struggle to come up with a system as sophisticated as Content ID not only for removal of content but also the monetization side of it.

Somebody’s Using My Videos! What Do I Do?

Due to Facebook’s lack of a decent search functionality, it’s very hard to find specific videos. Your only option would be to report it to Facebook and then inform the creator of the content (where possible), however even Facebook’s copyright infringement report form is long winded.

Below I have embedded a case study by students at Duke University. Have you had similar results?