Facebook Has Added One More Thing To Its Slate of Scandals

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As if fake news, data breach, or projection of communal hatred and election snooping problems weren’t enough, Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) is now on the hook due to a new charge; Movie Piracy.

Millions of Facebook users use the tech giant’s feature to connect and discuss with like-minded people, on a common platform ‘Groups’. However, according to allegations made recently by Business Insider, Facebook Groups have deviated from their prime motive of being a platform for peers and now has changed into a base where one can share pirated copies of movies with thousands of group members. Astonishingly, most of them are totally open and are not even customized to pillow their activities.

As if this wasn’t gruesome enough, Facebook says there’s nothing it can do about the Piracy Problem!

Facebook: A Free Pirated-Content Sharing Platform

The social network is flooded with free sharing of pirated Hollywood movies with hundreds of thousands of users. These groups provide links to illegal content that is hosted on other sites and can be employed to download movies on those groups. These piracy groups have gone to the extent where they float full movies on the platform, which include blurry, recorded copies of popular movies like “Ant-Man and the Wasp

With names like “Full HD English Movie” and “Free full movies 2018,” these groups make no attempt to hide their catalogues and can be found by simply searching ‘free movies”.

Now what remains to be kicked around is the fact that although Facebook has an army of content-moderators in addition to several automated software to detect copyright-infringing content online, how can these groups possibly root in for such long? This certainly puts Facebook’s Content-Policy Systems under a big question mark!

Pirated Content Draw Huge Followers!

A Facebook Piracy Group, dubbed as “Full HD English Movie” boasts of more than 134,000 members. With such follower-base, it hosts pirated copies of movies including “The Greatest Showman,” “Transformers: The Last Knight,” and “A Quiet Place.” Despite, Facebook’s content-moderating cavalry,  it has been lurking around for two-three years.

“Free full movies 2018,” which has been there since 2016 or perhaps earlier, has 171,000 members. Its catalogue boasts of movies such as “50 Shades Freed” and “Every Day.” It floats a link of “Transformers: The Last Knight” hosted elsewhere on Facebook, which as of now, accounts to more than 360,000 views.

Various other groups, similar to them include, “(W.O.S) It’s Free why you Complaining ‘Main Movie Group'” which has about 76,000 members, “Watch Free Full Movies HD” with 41,000 members and “Share link watch full HD movie online 2018” which has 7,000 members.

Is Facebook’s Moderation Success, a Faux Pas?

It’s yet another case where Facebook’s moderation team is turning-in the disapproving front. Facebook has its Rights Manager tool, which helps copyright owners prevent their content or videos from being stolen and spread. However, what appears to be a problem according to Facebook is the inability of the tool to scout the stolen/ripped content. This gap originates from the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which states that Facebook is only liable for any mishaps only if it knows about it. This, essentially, provides Facebook a pillow to ignore the issue in hand. Apparently, playing the blame-game and passing-the-burden is easier than taking the pain of reporting those videos instead!

Rights Manager; Thoroughly-Cooked or Not?

If “Issue-Handling” stories of Facebook are to be believed, it has been struggling to crack down on pirated content for a long time.

In the battle against pirated content, the company announced “Rights Manager” technology to detect and remove video clips shared over by users, without proper rights under their name. Last year, it acquired a US-based startup, Source3 to help it, filter out pirated content that users share without permission. A Facebook spokesperson was quoted saying that “it wasn’t the company’s responsibility to take down such content unless asked to by the content’s rights holders”.

“We’re excited to work with the Source3 team and learn from the expertise they’ve built in intellectual property, trademarks and copyright. As always, we are focused on ensuring we serve our partners well” – Facebook

According to the recent Facebook transparency report, the tech-giant washed out 2.8 million pieces of content, based on approximately 370,000 user copyright reports in the second half of 2017.

As of now, looking high-and-low has only manifested that, Facebook has built tools to cross-check all kinds of illegal activities. But what is still with-held, is the extent to which it’s really been engaged to sort this mess. With scandals after scandals, bullying the Social Media Giant’s hot-air, Movie piracy may soon add up to the list.


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