Facebook Video Technology

YouTube star Hank Green accuses Facebook of cheating to increase video numbers


By Tony Connelly | Sports Marketing Reporter

August 3, 2015 | 4 min read

An entrepreneur and leading YouTube video blogger with more than 2.5m viewers has claimed that Facebook is "lying, cheating and stealing" in its claim to be the world’s biggest video website.

Hank Green, who was one of three YouTube personalities chosen to interview Barack Obama earlier this year, said that Facebook was actively inflating statistics about how many people view its videos and willingly hosting pirated material so that it can claim to be bigger than YouTube.

Facebook recently claimed to be streaming 4bn videos a day however Green maintained that videos hosted directly on the social media site are promoted more aggressively than YouTube videos which are posted on Facebook. According to Green, a Facebook video only has to be watched for three seconds in order to be considered to have been played while a YouTube video has to play for 30 seconds.

However, three seconds is the standard used by online analytics firm Comscore and Facebook has been open with advertisers about the length of time a video needs to play to count as a view Indeed, last month it started letting advertisers pick between paying for video ads by impression - i.e they get charged as soon as the video starts playing - or once it has been watched for 10 seconds or more.

On his Medium blog Green wrote that for Facebook to make the claim “all they had to do was cheat, lie, and steal”. He continued to call out the social network, saying: “When Facebook says it has roughly the same number of views as YouTube, what they really mean is that they have roughly one-fifth of YouTube’s views, since they’re intentionally and blatantly over-counting to the detriment of everyone except them.”

Green also accused Facebook of turning a blind eye to pirated material being uploaded saying that it was “too slow in responding to pirated video content being uploaded, so as not to lose out on views”.

He also pointed out that Facebook lacked a content ID system similar to YouTube which ensures that video royalty payments are redirected to rights holders saying that it was “inexcusable that a company with a market cap of $260bn, launched their video platform with no system to protect independent rights holders”.

Video is one of Facebook’s major growth areas which it claims has increased by 1bn viewers in the three months leading up to the beginning of the year.

The Drum has approached Facebook for a comment and is waiting on its response to the claims.

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