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Facebook Allows Stolen Content to Flourish, slow to crack down on copyright infringement

Facebook Allows Stolen Content to Flourish, slow to crack down on copyright infringement


By Keach Hagey and Jeff Horwitz
Nov. 9, 2021 4:43 pm ET WSJ

About 40% of the traffic to Facebook pages at one point in 2018 went to pages that stole or repurposed most of their content, according to a research report that year by Facebook senior data scientist Jeff Allen, one of a dozen internal communications reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. Pages are used by businesses and organizations to disseminate content on Facebook, while individual users put content on what Facebook calls “profiles.”

The researchers also wrote Facebook has been slow to crack down on copyright infringement for fear of opening itself to legal liability.

Posting unoriginal content continues to be a formula for success on Facebook, according to data the company has released this year on the platform’s most popular posts.

Company researchers said the tactic is an effective way to build a large audience on Facebook and has been used by foreign and domestic groups that post divisive content and peddle false information on social media.
Mr. Allen said in the research reports that Facebook wasn’t as aggressive as Alphabet Inc.’s YouTube in proactively policing copyright violations on its platform—meaning before rights holders alerted them—because it feared doing so would invite lawsuits. He said that comes from how Facebook interpreted the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, an intellectual-property law.

In May, Facebook began reporting for the first time the number of copyright violations it said it identified and removed proactively, saying at the time the company had been building the technology to do so “over the past few years.”

Facebook’s penalties for posting unoriginal content aren’t great enough to meaningfully discourage the practice, employees familiar with how the company ranks content say.

Mr. Stone said Facebook limits the distribution of unoriginal content but doesn’t remove it and that it can still reach a large audience.

Posted from SLPRO Z

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