Facebook defends video policy after 'lying, cheating and stealing' claims

A Facebook manager has responded to a popular video blogger's claims that the social network is "lying, cheating and stealing" to present itself as the world's biggest video website.

Facebook: product manager claims native videos see higher view counts than YouTube video posts
Facebook: product manager claims native videos see higher view counts than YouTube video posts

Matt Pakes, a product manager with responsibility for video, has insisted he and Facebook "absolutely do care" about video creators.

It comes after American entrepreneur Hank Green, whose YouTube channel vlogbrothers has 2.5 million subscribers, said Facebook was inflating the numbers to claim that it was streaming 4 billion videos a day.

Green, in a blog post on Medium, said videos hosted on Facebook are promoted more heavily than a YouTube video posted on Facebook. He said a Facebook video only had to be watched for three seconds to count as having been viewed, compared to around 30 seconds for YouTube.

He said: "The view is the thing that everyone talks about and it’s the thing creators sell to advertisers in order to make a living.

"Ad agencies and brands are confused enough without Facebook muddying the waters by calling something a view when it is in no way a measure of viewership.

"When Facebook says it has roughly the same number of views as YouTube, what they really mean is that they have roughly a fifth of YouTube’s viewers, since they intentionally and blatantly over-counting to the detriment of everyone except them."

But Pakes defended how Facebook promotes its own videos over those of YouTube, explaining "native posts with auto-play tend to see better engagement, more watch time and higher view counts."

He also said the three-second "view" barrier was an appropriate and commonly used choice.

Responding on Medium, Pakes said: "If you have stayed on a video for at least three seconds, it signals to us that you are not simply scrolling through feed and you’ve shown intent to watch that video.

"However, we also provide detailed metrics and tools to help Pages better understand how people respond to their videos on Facebook.

"So, if a Page owner wants to see exactly how long people watch their videos, they can easily see that data without having to rely solely on the public view count."

Facebook is looking to online video as a significant revenue growth area and last month was reported to be preparing an entry into the music streaming market as part of that strategy.

Figures released last week by ZenithOptimedia said online video consumption is set to rise by 23.3 per cent this year and a further 19.8 per cent next year, with mobile set to become the main platform for watching online video.

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