YouTube Star Casey Neistat Lost Millions of Views to Stolen Videos on Facebook

By Daniel

Facebook has been hitting home runs with video. And management hasn't been shy about sharing key figures to illustrate this success. The company said in its third-quarter conference call that there are now more than 8 billion daily video views on its platform, and more than 500 million members are watching videos daily. But one celebrity from Google's YouTube isn't happy with the juggernaut's methods when it comes to generating views.

Facebook video. Image source: Facebook.

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Facebook is benefiting from "freebooting" YouTube's Casey Neistat is a machine. Not only does he post a video every single day, but these videos are extremely high quality.

Making his videos isn't easy. He asserts in one video that editing these daily video blogs requires sacrificing three hours of sleep every night, leaving him with only four hours of snoozing between his jam-packed days making videos and running tech start-up Beam. Put simply, he works hard for his views on YouTube.

This is why he was furious when a video he recently directed in partnership with YouTuber Jesse Welle went viral on YouTube, and started gaining significant traction on Facebook via accounts where the content was re-uploaded as if it was their own.

During the hours Neistat spent trying to crack down on stolen versions of the viral video in the week after it was posted, he identified and dealt with more than 50 instances of "freebooting," or the act of uploading content as if it is your own, on Facebook, according to Adweek. But Neistat told Adweek that these 50 different posts were "not nearly all of them."

"I simply gave up after a while," Neistat said. Facebook's poor search function, and the social network's lack of tools to identify and take down stolen videos, make the task impossible.

While the video, called "Aladdin in Real Life," has been a big hit on YouTube, generating nearly 11 million views already, Neistat says the video has been viewed more than 20 million times via freeboot versions on Facebook. Neistat, who has 262,000 Twitter followers and 1.5 million YouTube subscribers, openly expressed his frustration on Twitter, linking to a recently published video by Kurzgesagt Projects, which provides some startling statistics on Facebook's stolen videos.

"[I]n the first quarter of 2015, 725 of the thousand most viewed videos on Facebook were stolen [from YouTube,] amassing a total of 17 billion views," Kurzgesagt's video, titled How Facebook is Stealing Billions of Views, asserts. As seen from the performance of Neistat's freebooted version of the Aladdin video on Facebook, the social network's algorithms favor videos uploaded directly to the social network -- even when they are freebooted.

Neistat's frustration with Facebook video highlights a key problem the social network needs to address. It prompts a range of important questions, including: Is Facebook's decision to favor native videos encouraging freebooting? Further, once Facebook cracks down on freebooting, will the social network's video statistics appear less impressive?

The article YouTube Star Casey Neistat Lost Millions of Views to Stolen Videos on Facebook originally appeared on

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