In the last year alone, Facebook had 1.4 billion monthly active users compared to YouTube’s 1.3 billion. Our last blog post discussed the video advertising arms race between YouTube and Facebook, but it seems the latter may be racking up those views in an unsavory way. Someone’s got some explaining to do.
“Unlike sea pirates, Facebook freebooters don’t directly profit from their plundering. That’s because, unlike YouTube, Facebook doesn’t run commercials before its native videos—not yet, at least. That’s part of why they spread like wildfire. What the freebooter gains is attention, whether in the form of likes, shares, or new followers for its Facebook page.”
Essentially, a Facebook freebooter downloads (or “rips”) a video from YouTube and then proceeds to post the video directly onto Facebook as a native video, with no credit given to the original creator. And without any links or tags, the creator has no idea his or her video is going viral – all on somebody else’s platform. Take for example the famed Tyrese Gibson, who regularly rips videos from YouTube. Yet one of his videos was the 5th most popular of 2014.
Ripping videos not only exaggerates the number of Facebook video views for the freebooter; it hurts the creators as well. Creators lose user engagement, but here’s the real problem: it costs them a great deal of time and money to get these videos removed from Facebook.
George Strompolos, the CEO of Fullscreen is “shocked that a rights holder with deep pockets has not sued yet.” He went on a Twitter rant a little over a month ago about the freebooter problem.
If Facebook wants to seriously compete with YouTube, it will have to fix the issue of videos being uploaded without the creator’s permission. All it takes is one “deep pocket” before the company gets itself into serious trouble.