facebook-likeI am what might be called an “active sharer” with my friends on Facebook. I enjoy sharing that which makes me laugh, marvel or challenges my thinking.

However, there’s a really ugly thing happening on Facebook. It’s been going on for a long time, and I just thought it was working pointing it out…so that folks of conscience might ponder whether or not they want to change their sharing behavior in some way.

The vast majority of the videos that get shared directly on Facebook (and no, we’re not talking about YouTube videos here) are actually content stolen from their original creators and reposted by the thieves on Facebook.

Why would they do this? Well, there’s half the story…which is that those who post them are too lazy and too uncreative to come up with original content of their own, so, instead, they resort to stealing. But the more interesting part of the story is that many of them are building their “brands”..garnering lots of Likes and followers who they can continue to spoon-feed content…and they don’t want people going to YouTube to watch instead of their page. Many of these pages are then used to advertise products or to redirect folks to web sites outside of Facebook. But many of them will be sold off to the highest bidder…giving marketers access to your personal info that you never intended to grant to them. This is actually a massive business…where large followings can fetch some pretty serious money…again…built on STOLEN CONTENT. You can read more about that here.

So, that’s one factor worth being aware of. Another is the strong potential for loss of income to those who created of the original video. You see, YouTube actually PAYS people to great good content through their monetization program. In other words, if a video gets a LOT of views, the creator can end up earning tens of thousands of dollars. There are a number of people who make their full-time living doing this.

So…thief does no work: MAKES MONEY. Video creator does all the work: LOSES MONEY. Anybody else see something wrong with this picture?

And, of course, Facebook does nothing to police this abuse at all…although I’m sure they have a mechanism for handling complaints if someone is aware their content has been reposted and takes the time to complain and document their ownership.

OK, but…what should you do about it?

What I do personally is try to go to YouTube to find the original video…even on YouTube, there are those who steal and re-post. And then I share that instead of the video posted to Facebook.

Also, I personally have created a site to enhance my sharing called ItsClickworthy.com…where I link to the original video on YouTube (so the publisher still benefits), and then share that on Facebook instead.

So…before you just click Share on a video that was posted directly to Facebook, please be aware that you are unwittingly supporting piracy, and likely discouraging further creativity from the creator of the original video.

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