Freebooting: How Facebook's 8 billion views could be a mirage

Ripped and chipped; content creators call on Menlo Park to stop users uploading their videos.


Video A sizeable but unknown chunk of the 8 billion hits Facebook this week claimed to have accrued for its video platform are stolen under what content creators call freebooting.

The claims come from the mouths of some of YouTube's biggest content creators, including Smarter Every Day and In a Nutshell.

Menlo Park has been contacted for comment. It says it is building an in-house system that will help content owners remove or monetise stolen work re-published to its network, but hasn't given The Register any detail.

The central contention is that Facebook lacks strong video copyright mechanisms, and favours videos uploaded to its servers over those linked to third party sites.

Together that means a successfully-viral video is being robbed of many millions of hits if ripped from YouTube (or another video site) and re-published to Facebook.

Content creators who have posted videos and blogs on the "theft" say it's a big hit to their advertising revenues, because The Social NetworkTM does not reimburse the original authors.

"[Facebook's video hits] are made out of lies, cheating and worst of all: theft. All of this is widley-known but the media giant Facebook is pretending everything is fine, while damaging independent creators in the process," content king In a Nutshell writes.

Menlo Park's "8 billion hits" claim may seem further inflated, since a view is registered after three seconds of play, which occurs automatically as users scroll down their profile Timelines.

Duke University news program coordinator Sonja Foust dug up statistics earlier this year demonstrating the huge reach of Facebook videos over those posted to Vimeo or Youtube.

She says native Facebook uploads will have far greater views and reach over YouTube, especially once shared when views "skyrocket".

R&B singer Tyrese Gibson has been accused of being prolific at ripping-and-reposting. In one instance a YouTube author says one of his videos, which has 3.8 million hits, got 81 million hits when posted to Gibson's page.

Scores more examples exist, notably affecting the biggest and slickest content creators. ®

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