'This Is Really Bad for Independent Creators'

Editor’s Note: This article previously appeared in a different format as part of The Atlantic’s Notes section, retired in 2021.

Kurzgesagt, the same animators who created the impressive video we ran last week about drug addiction, just put out a new one targeting Facebook for poaching a vast amount of its video content and resulting “views” via YouTube:

Jason Kottke flags a related essay from Hank Green called “Theft, Lies, and Facebook Video.” Money quote:

According to a recent report from Ogilvy and Tubular Labs, of the 1000 most popular Facebook videos of Q1 2015, 725 were stolen re-uploads. Just these 725 “freebooted” videos were responsible for around 17 BILLION views last quarter. This is not insignificant, it’s the vast majority of Facebook’s high volume traffic. And no wonder, when embedding a YouTube video on your company’s Facebook page is a sure way to see it die a sudden death, we shouldn’t be surprised when they rip it off YouTube and upload it natively. Facebook’s algorithms encourage this theft.

What is Facebook doing about it?

They’ll take the video down a couple days after you let them know. Y’know, once it’s received 99.9% of the views it will ever receive.

Slate’s Will Oremus has also covered “freebooting,” a term coined by filmmaker Brady Haran. Oremus: “For the first time in its history, YouTube has a real rival. And Facebook isn’t playing by the same rules.”

(Hat tip: Kasia)