Facebook #Freebooting isn’t the only problem

Yes, let’s address stolen videos (‘freebooting’) by radio stations among others who magically were appearing in my feed on Facebook with a regularity that clearly indicates they are the only beneficiaries of the new changes to the fabled yet all too mysterious algorithm. Yet let us not forget that there are many other forms of exploitation taking place as well.

Theft Lies Facebook Video Hank Green

This is a disturbing and bothersome trend, but business as usual honestly. Nothing new to see, really. That was until one of my favorite Facebook discoveries, who had quite a lot of viral success previously, that took them from meeting famous celebrities, a YouTube channel, and a scrappy blog to suddenly being used as ‘native video’ for The Telegraph’s Facebook page. Okay what relevance does or even should a UK paper have in the US market? None, I’d argue. We enjoy their differing laws for slander & ability to report on things that the legal departments of their US counterparts won’t print occasionally.

two day mark telegraph

Two Day Mark (5pm)

Yet to see them get 6 million views (in a few weeks) which is triple anything PS22 has received on a single video on their YouTube Channel is upsetting. For one, they get none of the insights of this particular video?!? They get none of the credit to the algorithm(s), and no discernible ranking on YouTube, when that many views would have gotten them seem by exponentially more worldwide. Despite previous coverage by many other news outlets, all embedded (as done over the years) from their YouTube page/link. No one probably asked for the video from Gregg & then uploaded it to Facebook. It seems The Telegraph did this and with his blessing, since he shared it from them touting the views. However when the most views any of this newspaper’s other Facebook videos got was 300k, we most definitely have a problem. To go from just over a  quarter million at best to 16 million when they don’t even link to 1. The Story, or 2. The creator’s own FB page or his YouTube channel is disgraceful. It ignores best practices, and is quite literally galling. It upset me viscerally.

Even though I’ve loved the chorus & its director Gregg Brienberg, it seems that he is merely satisfied measuring only the vanity metrics (on his  FB page) to measure his reach by. This should be a stern lesson that he lost in the proposition.

5m views_for the telegraph_no link to story

Two Day Mark (5pm) No Link to Story

For starters, on his YouTube Channel he can & seems like he does on occasion look at his statistics behind the scene. He quotes in one video interview piece how many total people have seen the videos. Contrast that number quoted, 20 million (over 5 years) to the 6 million views this one video is receiving in several days and you’ll see the problem. That what seemed like lending the video out, with no watermark, no ending that directs them to subscribe or to find them on Facebook, etc… they lose all those people who would become proud supporters of their future work. They become disconnected from that, and simply a feel-good human interest story for a UK media empire.

notice the video views they USUALLY get_now they will feature more in algorithim

It is a win-win for The Telegraph. The damage is done, nothing they can do now will elevate the FB page for PS22, or their blog, or their YouTube Channel. Instead they will now rank higher in the algorithm(s), show up more often, and get more views, clicks, likes, revenue from advertising, and so on. PS22, gets nothing. A bump in visibility perhaps. From the article they published a sliver of the traffic will siphon off to them and their other videos. Is that enough?

They did annotate the video telling the story crediting the creator, etc… something a staff graphics person did for them. They invested some, so as not to have it seem as if a portion of this story was left out. What none of this does however is increase the group’s google search rankings, authority, or even add subscribers. It does quite the opposite as you seen in the screencap below, it actually places the Telegraph’s website version (not the Facebook video) on par with their years of work. They can’t do any of this from within the native video upload.

(which bear in mind the impact this has on their ranking in Google & other places it might show up) 

Ranks Third

When speaking specifically about the ‘native video’ scheme that Facebook is using to try and take down YouTube. They are trying to dominate this field, as we are reminded every quarter by their PR department, and the losers in it however are the people that have kept us entertained for years. The people who have worked for over 15 years to make something wonderful, used their very own platform and spent time branding, gaining followers, and shares/likes/digital currency. To have that all wiped out with a single swipe, is that fair?

Should they after years of making these videos, full of heart & soul, settle from crumbs from the table that get swept off? I think not. Instead The Telegraph should have paid them a handsome fee, based on the number of views, or clicks or something. That is what should be built into the cost of doing this sort of business transaction. Instead since we are in an Overshare Epoch, of content creators everywhere dying to give their artistic work away for free exposure and ruthless crumbling media empires willing to make themselves relevant by poaching such content when it will get them clicks & help them pay their bills by getting more ad dollars (based on their views/clicks).

The Telegraph_YouTube Channel 140k subs 115k subs_PS22 chorus channel on YouTube

This should have & could possibly have been a fair fight – they have similar subscriber bases, but alas that doesn’t matter anymore. For in going native to Facebook – to receive a %4471 increase is ginormous. One might even say – uncalled for. These particular views are to be suspect, given the 3 second nature & the autoroll feature that Facebook uses to measure actually makes us leery of that number, but there is no doubt that it was seen exponentially by more people than he has amassed through YouTube in 10 years . So sure their community manager, social media staff, and all at this news organization went out to get drinks at happy hour & celebrate their coup.

Meanwhile no visible increase in PS22’s subscribers or their video views on YouTube. After two weeks here is the comparison:

In fact I found the original spartan page that they posted on their actual website. While it is at best a phone-it-in-because we can’t be bothered to really report on how awesome PS22 is (only linking & quoting their Sandy Hook tribute, not the Oscars, Oprah, Obama’s Inauguration et al…) and they actually also embedded the same video native to their own website too!

New York School_native embed on Telegraph NA site

Let me count the problems with the website version, in brief. The url doesn’t even have PS22 in it. There is a link to the original on YouTube, and links to their channel, and to one other video, but even the title of the video was lazy. “New York School.” Excuse me, it doesn’t take a Quantum Physicist to realize a densely populated city like NYC has tons of schools. We also have a unique naming system that helps all 8 million of us keep them straight. Surely that is just journalism (dead & dying print) version that would anonymzize it in order to formulate the best clickbait for an audience that is not US based. Perhaps, but still if it was good enough to identify it in the first paragraph, then good enough for the url and in the description of the native video. Unless you don’t care about people searching for it. They have a name, they have met with the leader of the free world & performed at his inauguration, sang on the Academy Awards seen by BILLIONS, but you think that is somehow not enough to identify them by. Okay hope you don’t mind me calling that lazy.

So if you are real brand new then perhaps you can see why a Facebook page used to getting close to half a million views at most on one of it’s previous videos gets 16 million on some “borrowed” content then you are a fool. If you are approached by a foreign media entity or a radio station about using your content — and you have it already on Vine, IG, or YouTube, then politely tell them they can use it based on views/likes/clicks. Also make sure they properly credit (with link) to your Facebook page, website, channel. That is just common courtesy.

As I’ve said throughout, there is nothing that The Telegraph can do to make up for this. They’ve won what they want so badly — more eyeballs, by any means necessary. We the people should be more cognizant of our support (implicit or implied) when we see these bits of content and sharing them or liking them. To do so is to support Facebook’s lax policy that makes it easier to steal & upload a video, get millions of likes. Than to get the taken down.