TIME Media

Facebook to Crack Down on Online Video Piracy

The company is trying to stop the practice known as "freebooting"

Facebook is finally responding to ongoing complaints that it’s too easy rip other people’s videos and repost them on the social network. In a blog post Thursday, the company announced it was taking several steps to curtail the practice, which is known as “freebooting.”

Facebook said it is working on new video matching technology that will let creators identify freebooted versions of their videos across the social network. “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,” the company wrote.

For now the new tool will be available as a beta version to a small group of media companies, multi-channel networks and indivdiaul creators. Facebook plans to roll the tool out to larger audience over time. The company said it is also improving its current procedures to remove copyright-infringing content more efficiently.

Freebooting has caused an increasingly loud contingent of YouTube stars to complain that Facebook wasn’t properly addressing the problem. A blog post by Hank Green, a popular vlogger and co-founder of the video conference VidCon, claimed that Facebook’s policies encouraged the theft of creators’ videos.

TIME facebook

Facebook Reached An Unbelievable Milestone This Week

Inside The F8 Facebook Developers Conference
Bloomberg—Bloomberg via Getty Images Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive officer of Facebook Inc., speaks during the Facebook F8 Developers Conference in San Francisco, California, U.S., on Wednesday, March 25, 2015. Zuckerberg plans to unveil tools that let application makers reach the social network's audience while helping the company boost revenue. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A million users isn't cool, you know what's cool?

1 billion people used Facebook on Monday. With 7.125 billion people on earth, that means almost 1 in 7 people logged into the social media site.

This is the total number of people who used the site on that one day, different from the Daily Active User figure the company posts with its financial earnings that reflects a 30-day average.

Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg took to Facebook on Thursday to announce the company’s achievement:

We just passed an important milestone. For the first time ever, one billion people used Facebook in a single day.

On Monday, 1 in 7 people on Earth used Facebook to connect with their friends and family.

When we talk about our financials, we use average numbers, but this is different. This was the first time we reached this milestone, and it’s just the beginning of connecting the whole world.

I’m so proud of our community for the progress we’ve made. Our community stands for giving every person a voice, for promoting understanding and for including everyone in the opportunities of our modern world.

A more open and connected world is a better world. It brings stronger relationships with those you love, a stronger economy with more opportunities, and a stronger society that reflects all of our values.

Thank you for being part of our community and for everything you’ve done to help us reach this milestone. I’m looking forward to seeing what we accomplish together.

TIME facebook

Meet M, Facebook’s Personal Assistant That Lives Inside Messenger

Courtesy of Facebook

The social network's next step in expanding its messaging app's relationship with commerce.

Move over Siri and Cortana, there’s a new digital sidekick in town: M, Facebook’s latest project.

Nested inside Messenger, Facebook’s messaging app, M is an artificial intelligence-based service the company is beginning to test, according to a Facebook post on Wednesday by Messenger head and former PayPal executive David Marcus.

“Unlike other AI-based services in the market, M can actually complete tasks on your behalf. It can purchase items, get gifts delivered to your loved ones, book restaurants, travel arrangements, appointments and way more,” Marcus writes.

Marcus also posted a few screen shots of the service, which show a text-based interface through which a user communicates with M about what they need. The service is currently available to a few hundred people in the Bay Area, a Facebook spokesperson told Fortune.

Rumors of the service, then thought to be called Moneypenny, broke out in mid-July, noting that people would be the other end of the service to make much of the decisions. “It’s powered by artificial intelligence that’s trained and supervised by people,” Marcus writes.

Messenger has been expanding its integration with e-commerce and merchants recently. In March, it opened up access to businesses, allowing them to connect with customers through the messaging app.

In addition to purely digital assistants like Apple’s Siri and Microsoft’s Cortana, M will be competing with services like Magic and Operator, which also use people to help customers make purchases and book services like plane tickets or restaurant reservations. It will also be interesting to see how the service evolves as a customer service tool. Though right now all the human helpers are internal to Facebook, M, along with Messenger for Business could someday take the place of customer service tools like Olark.

TIME Media

This Is Facebook’s Biggest Problem With Video Right Now

Video creators say it's costing them big bucks

Every year, YouTube creator Devin Graham makes his own version of a summer blockbuster: a live-action recreation of the high-flying parkour jumps in the video game series Assassin’s Creed. The elaborate short films regularly garner tens of millions of views for Graham’s production company, Devin Super Tramp, and can cost upwards of $50,000 each to produce.

This year’s version, set in London and published in July, has only received 2.5 million views on YouTube to date. But that’s not because people have suddenly grown tired of watching acrobats perform heart-stopping leaps across buildings. It’s because many people are seeing Graham’s videos on Facebook first, where they’re often posted without his consent. That’s a big problem for Graham, because unlike the official YouTube clips, the unlicensed Facebook uploads don’t put any money in his pocket.

“It does dramatically affect us as filmmakers, people doing what they love to do and as a full-on film production company,” says Graham.

This practice, which online video creators are calling “freebooting,” is taking off on Facebook, helping spur the site’s massive video growth. The social network is now attracting more than 4 billion video views per day, up from just one billion in September. It’s unclear how many of these views are coming from copyright-infringing content, but a recent study by ad agency Ogilvy and video analytics firm Tubular Labs found that about 72.5% of the top 1,000 Facebook videos in May were re-uploaded from other sources, an easy task with freely-available software.

Online video creators, who make money by selling advertising against their content, are increasingly frustrated with the problem. In June, George Strompolos, CEO of the multichannel network Fullscreen, said on Twitter that pirated versions of Fullscreen creators’ videos were racking up more than 50 million views on Facebook. This month, Hank Green, longtime YouTube vlogger and co-founder of the online video conference VidCon, penned a diatribe against Facebook’s video policies, arguing that the social network’s preference for Facebook-native videos in its News Feed algorithm encourages theft of creators’ YouTube videos.

It’s a little inexcusable that Facebook, a company with a market cap of $260 BILLION [sic], launched their video platform with no system to protect independent rights holders,” Green wrote.

YouTube itself faced similar issues in its earliest days, with users easily able to upload and search for pirated versions of television shows to the site for free. Viacom sued YouTube for more than $1 billion in 2007 for copyright infringement, shorty after the video site had been bought by Google. The case was eventually settled out of court, but it helped spur YouTube to create Content ID, a copyright-flagging system that lets rights holders either remove unlicensed copies of their content or monetize those unauthorized videos by selling ads against them. YouTube has made more than $1 billion in payments to more than 8,000 rights holders using the Content ID system so far.

Green and other YouTube creators are now calling on Facebook to create a similar copyright-flagging system. It’s been the online video natives adept at making viral content who have been most hurt by freebooting, as Facebook Page owners lift videos of adorable animals, extreme sports and other highly-shareable content to boost their own social media audiences. Collectively, these creators helped YouTube generate an estimated $5.6 billion in advertising revenue in 2013, and the biggest stars now rake in millions of dollars per year. But they still lack the clout of the traditional media giants who initially compelled YouTube to clean up its act.

“Facebook pages aren’t stealing content that advertisers would even think of as copyrighted because it’s not made by legacy media,” Green told TIME in an interview. “That’s part of why this has been such an easy thing for Facebook to get away with for so long. It doesn’t feel like copyrighted content. But it is, and it’s a big deal for the creators who do this professionally and have their content being stolen every day and getting tens of millions of views.”

In an emailed statement, a Facebook spokesperson said the company uses a system called Audible Magic to identify copyright-infringing videos. The social network also has a system whereby users can flag individual freebooted videos, though by the time a video has been removed it has often already garnered millions of views. Users who make repeated IP violations may also see their accounts suspended. Facebook also says it’s working on new features “to help [intellectual property] owners identify and manage potential infringing content.” Details could be announced later this summer.

The pressure to create a more comprehensive system is likely to increase as Facebook courts more video creators and begins sharing ad revenue with them. In July the social network announced that it’s launching a revenue-sharing program with select video partners including the NBA, Funny or Die and Hearst. “Media companies don’t create content to have it ripped by somebody else and not receive their rightful share of revenue or data from that,” says Rich Raddon, co-founder of the digital media rights management company ZEFR.

For now, creators are simply waiting for a better solution to arrive as they continue to depend on their fans to help them spot unlicensed copies of their videos. “All of a sudden we’re competing against our own video for views,” says Graham. “It’s a real struggle.”

TIME Social Media

Facebook ‘Spam King’ Faces 3 Years in Prison

Social Media Illustrations
Bloomberg/Getty Images Privacy setting shortcuts are displayed on Apple Inc. iPhone 6.

He's been spamming since the fax machine days

So-called “Spam King” Sanford Wallace has admitted to using around a half-million Facebook accounts to send more than 27 million unsolicited messages on the social network, Bloomberg reports.

Wallace pled guilty to charges of fraud and criminal contempt; he faces up to three years in prison and a $250,000 fine for his activities.

The notorious spammer was found to have violated a court order banning him from Facebook by logging onto the site while onboard a Virgin Airlines flight in 2009. He violated the court order again in 2011 by maintaining a profile under the name “David Sinful-Saturdays Fredericks,” according to an FBI press release.

Wallace has been a pest for consumers for decades. Throughout the mid-90s, he spammed people through fax, then through e-mail, according to Ars Technica. He gained such notoriety that his critics named him “Spamford”–a domain he later registered, despite protests from SPAM foodstuff maker Hormel. He also dabbled in spyware and MySpace spamming, which resulted in a lawsuit in 2007.

TIME Innovation

Facebook Should Pay for Our Data

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

These are today's best ideas

1. Facebook should pay all of us.

By Tim Wu in the New Yorker

2. Could Google could rig the 2016 election?

By Robert Epstein in Politico

3. Don’t be shocked. Amazon’s culture is the American workplace.

By Michael Cohen in the Boston Globe

4. For Putin, Crimea went from long lost relative to problem child.

By Carol Matlack in Bloomberg Business

5. Are Americans losing their right to walk?

By Antonia Malchik in Aeon

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Walmart

Walmart CEO Doug McMillon Posts $25 Million Gift On Instagram

Walmart CEO Doug McMillon.

It's to support global disaster response efforts.

As the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina approaches next week, Walmart CEO Doug McMillon used his personal Instagram account on Friday to announce a $25 million donation to support global disaster response efforts.

“Hurricane Katrina touched our customers, communities we serve, and our associates in a profound way,” McMillon said in the video posted on the photo-sharing network, which received 132 “likes” in its first five hours.

The catastrophic storm made landfall on Aug. 29, 2005, ravaging New Orleans in what U.S. officials have called the most devastating natural disaster in the nation’s history.

“We haven’t forgotten,” McMillon said in a separate statement released by Walmart. The retail giant, together with its charitable arm Walmart Foundation, will dole out the $25 million gift over five years to organizations specializing in disaster recovery and relief. “We will continue to help communities prepare for—and recover from—the unexpected,” McMillon continued.

See McMillon’s Instagram post announcing the gift here:

New Orleans mayor Mitch Landrieu also recognized Walmart’s own work to help the city recover from the storm, saying it “opened make-shift stores,” sent “truckloads of supplies,” and “activated associates on the ground to help,” according to the company’s official announcement. “When Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast, Walmart was on the front lines of the response,” Landrieu said. “In turn, they started to change the role of the private sector in disaster response.”

McMillon’s decision to use Instagram to announce the philanthropic gift reflects his growing closeness to the social media company, which is owned by Facebook [fortune-stock symbol=”FB”]. Last September, Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom joined Walmart’s board, and McMillon began posting photos to his personal Instagram account in June.

For more on McMillon and his leadership style, see Fortune’s profile of “The man who’s reinventing Walmart,” from the recent June 15 issue of the magazine.

Read next: New Orleans, Here & Now

TIME Crime

Burglary Suspect Mocks Sheriff’s Department on Its Own Facebook Page

"Deputies continue to look for me but Are frustrated that i am unable to be located...."

A wanted Florida man has been mocking the cops that are looking for them—on their own Facebook page.

Logan Hale of Polk County Florida is wanted for his alleged involvement in an armed burglary, but the fugitive has been making fun of the Polk County Sheriff’s Office via their Facebook page.

“HELLO here i am……,” Hale, 21, commented on his wanted post on Aug. 18 at 7:28p.m. Minutes later he added, “Deputies continue to look for me but Are frustrated that i am unable to be located….” He added “Finallyfree” to his Facebook name for an added joke.

The original #FridayFelons Facebook post that features Hale’s mugshot is littered with a mix of tough love, criticism, and support but the harshest words came straight from the sheriff’s department:

“Remaining “at large” is only going to result in your having to change your FB name from “Finallyfree” to “Back In Jail” – it would be wise for you to turn yourself in to the nearest PCSO facility. Or give us a call – we’ll be happy to provide transportation. 863-298-6200,” they commented.

MONEY stocks

Mark Zuckerberg’s 3 Best Quotes on Facebook’s Future

JOSH EDELSON—AFP/Getty Images Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks at the F8 summit in San Francisco, California, on March 25, 2015.

The social media company's CEO made some surprising revelations about his plans in the latest earnings call.

Facebook FACEBOOK INC. FB 1.44% stock has exploded in the past two years, up about 150%. Its market capitalization has swelled to an impressive $265 billion. This success has brought a lot of attention to its founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Given Facebook’s forward-looking valuation and its speculative acquisitions of Oculus and WhatsApp, investors want to understand the mind of the man in charge. Will Zuckerberg truly be able to live up to hyped expectations?

To get a glimpse of some of Zuckerberg’s ideas about what’s driving Facebook and where the company is headed, here are three quotes from the CEO, taken from the company’s most recent earnings call.

Video is a winning medium
With Facebook stock priced for revenue to continue to grow rapidly for years, investors want to know the company still has meaningful catalysts for advertising revenue growth. Probably the most critical driver for Facebook’s advertising growth at the moment is video.

“Video continues to be some of the richest and most engaging content for people and publishers. And since the start of the year, Pages are also sharing more than 4% more videos,” Zuckeberg said during the call.

He went on to explain that Facebook continues to invest in video as a driver for its business.

This quarter, we updated our news feed ranking to help people see more of the videos they care about, and also began testing new options for video monetization to help our partners build their businesses. We’re excited about the potential for continued work here.

One of the reasons video ads have been such a significant catalyst for ad revenue at Facebook is because so many consumer-generated videos are shared and watched already. This makes video ads a natural part of the news feed experience.

Facebook’s advertising revenue in Q2 was up 43% from the year-ago quarter. And Facebook management cites video as a key driver.

Virtual reality will be social
When Facebook announced it would acquire virtual reality company Oculus in 2014, many investors were scratching their heads. What does Facebook’s mission of connecting the world have to do with virtual reality goggles, investors wondered?

Since the surprise announcement of the acquisition, investors have begun to warm up to the company’s interest in virtual reality. But plenty of uncertainty remains. This is why investors are always looking for more insight from Zuckerberg about how the company plans to tap into this asset.

During Facebook’s second-quarter call, Zuckerberg acknowledged several reasons the social network was happy to pony up $2 billion to acquire Oculus:

  • Virtual reality is a natural extension of a growing trend toward richer and more immersive content. In other words, it’s the next thing after video, Zukerberg said.
  • It is poised to serve as a gaming platform — an area Facebook continues to show interest in.
  • Perhaps most interestingly, Zuckerberg said he believes virtual reality will enable new ways to socialize. And this is the aspect of virtual reality Zuckerberg seems to be most excited about.

“Once you start to get more of a critical mass, I think you can start to get social applications, which is what we as a company are more interested in over the long term — and think have a huge amount of potential.”

Messenger monetization: On its way
Speaking about Facebook’s two messaging apps, Messenger and WhatsApp, Zuckerberg ensured investors during the call that the company is thinking about how these business can be monetized. With the company paying about $20 billion to acquire WhatsApp, investors have been itching to hear more details about monetization.

Here’s what Zuckerberg said:

But the long‐term bet is that by enabling people to have good organic interactions with businesses, that will end up being a massive multiplier on the value of the monetization down the road when we work on that and really focus on that in a bigger way. So, we asked for some patience on this to do this correctly.

Therefore, when it comes to monetizing messaging, Facebook basically appears to be aiming to find a way to charge businesses money to target and connect with users. But Zuckerberg wants to build this out organically first — similar to the way Facebook did with business Pages before it started displaying advertisements.

Zuckerberg’s strategies for connecting the world and monetizing social platforms may sometimes seem a bit “out there.” But if history is any indication of how Zuckerberg’s current bets will play out in the future, the company could simply be one step ahead of everyone else.

Read next: Facebook’s Zuckerberg Defends Controversial ‘Real Name’ Policy

More From Motley Fool:

TIME viral

Man Poses as Target on Facebook to Hilariously Troll Angry Customers

Customers were mad about the company's gender-neutral announcement

When customers started angrily commenting on Target’s Facebook page about its new gender-neutral toys policy, this Facebook user saw a comedic opportunity.

Mike Melgaard made a fake Facebook page and pretended to be a Target customer service representative, and then responded to the outrage over the company’s decision to stop labeling toys and other items by gender.

“I definitely side with Target and support their decision wholeheartedly,” Melgaard told AdWeek. “That being said, this was, for me, more about the laughs. I absolutely love satirical humor, and I think America could use a little more laughter.”

Target provided this statement to AdWeek in response: “At Target, we are committed to providing outstanding guest service to our guests wherever we engage with them—in our stores, online, or on our social pages. Clearly this individual was not speaking on behalf of Target.”

Here’s some of Melgaard’s best work before his fake account was shut down:

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