A new viral YouTube video accuses Facebook of “stealing billions of views,” and it is receiving a ton of support from content creators across the globe.
The video seen above was created by a German-based YouTube channel and design studio called Kurzgesagt, and it was released on November 10th, right after Facebook announced it was generating 8 billion views every day. Kurzgesagt’s video has topped up more than 1.3 million YouTube views in that time.
So what are the allegations reported in the video?
- During the first quarter of 2015, over 725 of the 1,000 most seen videos on Facebook were actually stolen from the original content creators, and re-uploaded to Facebook. Kurzgesagt said this amounted to over 17 billion views during that period.
- The video claims that the stealing of videos is happening more frequently. It is terrible for content creators, as they receive no exposure or revenue for their videos at all. The only entity making a profit from these stolen videos is Facebook, mainly thanks to more ad revenue.
- Facebook changed its algorithm so the videos uploaded to its player get more reach vs. YouTube links. In other words, you’re more likely to see a Facebook video in your news feed than a YouTube video.
- The video claims that Facebook “cheats” because a video view on Facebook counts after 3-second of a video is played, even if the video is auto-playing (and even on mute) as a user scrolls through their newsfeed. So in reality, all it takes for a user to slowly scroll down their newsfeed to have him actually watch hundreds of videos (according to Facebook)
- The video claims that the process of claiming copyright infringement is light years behind YouTube’s Content ID system. It can take weeks of constant emailing to delete a video, and the person who was infringing the content does not get in trouble what-so-ever.
Facebook does not review all videos manually, although their slow response times would suggest staff intervention. The social giant uses a system called Audible Magic to detect copyright-infringing videos, and it has a system where users can flag stolen videos. And the company says users who make repeated copyright infringements may find their accounts suspended. This is probably why people are afraid to even flag content, as no one would like to have their user account suspended. We can’t see any logic in that policy unless they really don’t care about copyrigh,t and want the videos to stay up as long as possible.
Nevertheless, stolen videos are still a problem on Facebook, and many prominent content creators have been voicing their support for the Kurzgesagt video and sharing it on other social platforms. People across the globe have been complaining about copyright infringement on Facebook, and the celebrities who have engaged in it. It is actually funny that celebrities are the type of users who abuse this unmoderated Facebook fiasco the most, as they’re the first ones to cry foul play when their work gets shared without compensation. Double standard, anyone?
Update (2016): Facebook improved tremendously in this department. Their video flagging service and tweaks in the algorithm substantially reduced video plagiarism. Although it’s not as advanced as YouTube, it is a vast improvement.