The FINANCIAL — Facebook Inc., under fire from top Web-video creators who say it fails to prevent their videos from being posted without permission, is trying to make it easier for them to protect their content, particularly when videos go viral, according to Nasdaq.
The social-networking giant, which is locked in a battle with Google Inc.’s YouTube unit for Web-video supremacy, is introducing a video-matching-technology product designed to quickly identify videos that are duplicates of those already uploaded directly by their creators.
Facebook said in a blog post that it is working with a group of video creators on the initiative, including the multichannel network Fullscreen, which has been particularly critical of Facebook on this issue; the viral-video specialist Jukin Media; and Zefr, which helps marketers track videos online.
“This technology is tailored to our platform, and will allow these creators to identify matches of their videos on Facebook across pages, profiles, groups, and geographies,” Facebook said in its post. “Our matching tool will evaluate millions of video uploads quickly and accurately, and when matches are surfaced, publishers will be able to report them to us for removal.”
Until now, Facebook has relied on technology partner Audible Magic to help it identify unauthorized video content through audio fingerprinting. But that effort hasn’t been effective in quelling the recent chorus of complaints.
The new technology isn’t fully automated. Creators will have access to a Web-based dashboard that will allow them to identify videos they would like to monitor. If the system finds a matching video on Facebook, the creator has the option of reporting the clips to the company.
The system puts the burden of finding violations on the creators, in contrast to Google’s Content ID. That software product, which has been around since 2007, finds videos posted without permission and flags them automatically.
Besides helping to identify duplicate videos, Facebook said it is continuing to improve its policies aimed at consumers who repeatedly post videos without permission.
It is possible that repeat offenders could be blocked from posting videos or photos to Facebook, said a person familiar with the matter.
The company emphasized that the new matching technology is a work in progress, and that it plans to coordinate with partners to improve it over time.
Even as video has exploded on Facebook over the past year, generating four billion streams a day, many YouTube stars have been cool to the platform. One reason: Facebook doesn’t offer them a way to make money.
“This was an obvious hole that needed to be filled,” said Zach James, co-founder of Zefr. “Facebook is about to become a very good platform for media companies.”
YouTube faced the same sort of challenges nearly a decade ago. The company was eventually sued by Viacom Inc. over alleged copyright violation. That lawsuit, along with pressure from other big media companies, forced Google to build and implement Content ID.
This time around, prominent video creators, such as Hank Green, one of the people behind the popular YouTube channel vlogbrothers, have been critical of Facebook for not protecting their content.
Top YouTube creators earn money from advertising on YouTube but don’t enjoy the same sort of ad-supported revenue on Facebook.
“This is just the beginning,” says the Facebook post. “In the long-term, our goal is to provide a comprehensive video- management system that fits the needs of our partners. This will take time, but we’re working on it, and we’re committed.”