Facebook Is Still the Worst Place to Put Your Content: Lies, Deceit, and Shady Practices

Facebook Is Still the Worst Place to Put Your Content: Lies, Deceit, and Shady Practices

If I told you that Facebook lies, you'd all probably shrug your shoulders and reply with an elongated, groaning "duh." Other than the moral issues, their lies genuinely hurt individuals and businesses. As photographers, it's important for us to take note of how Facebook is impacting us. 

It's no secret that many of us consider Facebook to be a pretty shady and somewhat abhorrent company. The platform has been questioned about their reliance on fake news and how they've in some sense incentivized it. They've caused a great deal of damage in the political sphere too, and it doesn't seem as though Facebook is doing very much to correct these actions.

More recently, Facebook came under fire again for what seems to be an intentional and concerted effort to misrepresent engagement figures. If you're a content creator and you produce videos, then Facebook is not a great place to upload your work. 

Facebook Versus YouTube

For some time now, YouTube has been the best platform to upload video content. The amount of video being uploaded to the platform every day is simply ridiculous. YouTube also generates a huge degree of income from the videos that get posted on the platform, and Facebook obviously wanted a piece of that. The key difference between Facebook and YouTube is the fact that YouTube will actually pay you, the content creator, a share of the ad revenue. The amount may not be significant for the majority of people on the platform, but it depends on the amount of engagement your content generates. 

For my personal channel, the income I've been receiving from YouTube has been slowly increasing on a monthly basis. Currently, we receive somewhere in the region of about $300 per month on average. This isn't a huge amount of income, but it's still something that I'm receiving for uploading my content. Not only that, but YouTube will actively promote content that I upload if it generates enough interest. 

Facebook, on the other hand, has a very different business model. What they offer instead is a platform where you can upload content so that they can generate income. There is not profit-sharing between Facebook and the content creator. To top it off, Facebook will actively limit your content from being seen unless you pay them. In this kind of environment, many people simply continued to operate on YouTube and completely ignored Facebook, because it offered no meaningful benefits. To combat this, Facebook adjusted its strategy, specifically for video content. 

Facebook Lied

The thing that I always wondered about Facebook was why anyone would want to upload video content to the platform. Surely, it would be a much better idea to upload the content to YouTube and actually generate some income. I'm assuming this was a question that many other content creators asked themselves too. Facebook was seemingly aware of this problem and decided the only way to compete was to just lie about the engagement figures. 

As Adam Conover (previously employed by College Humor) described in a tweet: "In order to beat YouTube, Facebook faked incredible viewership numbers, so CH pivoted to FB." 

When you're on your phone and scrolling through your feed, Facebook will autoplay any videos that appear. Even if you just scroll past it, that blink of an eye moment where the video played is considered a view and described as engagement. This is obviously not true and cannot in any reasonable manner be considered engagement, but this is how Facebook lied about the figures. The massive number of views videos were receiving on Facebook was obviously very enticing for many brands and companies. The hope was that they could drive traffic back to their own websites, where they had more opportunities to generate revenue. According to a lawsuit against Facebook, the metrics may have been inflated by as much as 900%. 

Why Facebook Is the Worst

If it isn't obvious enough yet, Facebook is the worst place to put up video content, because there is no upside. They receive all of the income and benefits from your content and offer nothing in return. There's very little to no income potential aside from affiliated or sponsored content/links. This is obviously not specific to the platform and can be done via YouTube far more effectively.

If you were uploading to the platform because of the "incredible" engagement, then we now know that was a complete lie. I would highly recommend YouTube over Facebook for video content. 

If Facebook has indeed adjusted the way views and engagement are recorded, then the numbers should in theory be significantly lower. This means engagement is no longer a benefit on the platform; having said that, we now know it never was.

Even still, videos continue to autoplay, so my guess is that they've simply changed the duration before a view or metric is recorded. My opinion is that this is simply not enough to warrant any great effort on the platform. 

Final Thoughts

Facebook is one of those websites that I reluctantly use because so many of my friends and colleagues use the platform too. It's an easy way to communicate with many of the people I know. Facebook really isn't a website for video content;  it is more of a social site for people to talk and discuss things. This is why it just doesn't work, and as a company, they have to resort to using underhanded tactics just to be able to compete.

YouTube, on the other hand, is designed specifically for video content and isn't really a site where people go to socialize with their friends. It's optimized specifically for video, and unlike Facebook, seems to report engagement figures far more accurately. 

Just to clarify, I don't think that we should all stop posting any and all video content to Facebook. Instead, I believe that it would be smarter to consider Facebook as merely a additional platform where videos can go up. Post content to YouTube initially and then trickle content down to Facebook as a way to drive traffic to another site. The only metric I would concentrate on would be the traffic that Facebook drives to your own websites or links. All other metrics on Facebook would be less useful in most situations. 

Facebook is the worst platform to upload video content for most creatives, but that doesn't mean there aren't opportunities available. Just remember to take any metric they offer with a huge bucket of salt. 

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Barry Brunswick's picture

Shrugs. Duh.

Stephen Kampff's picture

Facebook hasn't been too kind to Fstoppers either, luckily Fstoppers doesn't post video content to FB but there's been other scandals.


Deleted Account's picture

So after condemning FB the author ends up grudgingly endorsing it "...with a huge bucket of salt." Weak. And in favor of what? YouTube? A wholly owned subsidiary of the Google personal-data mining and profiteering colossus? Only difference, YT PAY$ and FB doesn't? Sorry, they both suck, and badly. NEITHER business model is based on providing a service to users. They make money by collecting and selling users' personal information to marketers, and any services provided are nothing but BAIT, making the enterprise palatable and ultimately swallowed, as this article illustrates.

Alexander Petrenko's picture

Google is not yet caught on selling data to Oxford Analytica and helping to manipulate elections by ignoring fake accounts/bot farms reports.

Deleted Account's picture

Cambridge Analytica. And Google doesn't need the chump change to be had in election manipulations. They work on a much grander scale. MUCH.

Barry Brunswick's picture

Not so strangely, you're both right.

Rafael Hoyos Weht's picture

Besides algorithsms, image and video quality, etc..Facebook is poisonous. Full of angry and jealous people. I only use it to sell my bicycle.

Tony Northrup's picture

This is true but overall we find FB to be a much more positive environment than YT.

Felix Wu's picture

I am sure you can develop a thoughtful platform tomorrow and destroy facebook. It’s so trash.

liliumva's picture

Youtube isn't the best either despite being paid for content only after certain specifications are met. Facebook,however, is shady as hell in it's practices. It's not just their incessant lying and vying for your content, it's the bloated statistical information you get from your supposed viewers...especially on promoted/paid advertising. That then starts a cycle of you being forced to pay to promote, otherwise their algorithm shuts you down. Their only intent is to use and gain money from people that fall into their trap. Only sort of video you should post that does not directly affect your bottomline is snippets that can direct people to Youtube.

Mutley Dastardly's picture

Facebook is an invention of an extreme selfish man - Mark Z. - don't expect him to give you something. Instead he's taking away our privacy and dignity. So i'm filtering his sites away with dns. Cannot follow Facebook - and cannot consult instagram - i don't feel i'm missing something.
So i'm so happy to read this well written anti-facebook article.

Zach Ashcraft's picture

Theres plenty of upside to using facebook, there are tons of potential clients. I can't imagine not using it just because they don't pay me a few pennies in video ad revenue

Rob Davis's picture

Deleting my personal was the best thing I’ve done. Deleting my business account hasn’t changed anything one way or the other.

David Munson's picture

In December, 2018 I quit using Facebook, only keeping the account active at all for the sake of my Instagram business accounts. For so many reasons, Facebook is the fucking worst, and I encourage anyone on the fence to gtfo at their earliest convenience. It will do you a world of good.

Felix Wu's picture

Facebook is terrible. It’s just an ugly platform, from their actual design and layout to their business practices. I stopped using it many years ago. Back then instagram was better....Now it’s just as bad.

davidlovephotog's picture

Good thing Facebook didn't buy and ruin Instagram.

Felix Wu's picture

Instagram has already been damaged enough by facebook...

Bert Nase's picture

HaHa! Too funny. Instagram belongs to Facebook!

Paul Scharff's picture

Every time you like, react or post to FB they are earning money by selling your data, and spending it on what I consider very nefarious purposes. That's why I've been inactive for three years and counting.

Benoit Pigeon's picture

You can also click on ads randomly and it will open in a different tab. Just ignore it and you made someone pay for nothing and the data collected on you is erroneous.Close all tabs when done

Usman Dawood's picture

That will for the most part will hurt small businesses and benefit Facebook.

Benoit Pigeon's picture

Sure, and? I can't cry for businesses that make use of the data collected on me. They can write checks to Google and FB all day, it's a decision they make, and they understand how this works. They should really worry about their return and figure out if they really make money in the first place.

Usman Dawood's picture

But you’re directly helping the businesses that collect data on you that’s the point I’m raising lol.

Also this makes you come across bitter and petty. I’m hoping you’re more mature than this in every other facet of your life.

Benoit Pigeon's picture

Yes I do let them collect inexact data and they make money out of it that's totally the point. If businesses want to fork billions to FB and have no clue if it's even worth it, does that make me bitter? Why don't you provide me actual data on what businesses really get in return. And please no FB or Google inflated numbers that mean nothing. Do that before calling me bitter, but can you provide?

Usman Dawood's picture

"Come across"

Dan Stiel's picture

"No one goes there nowadays, it’s too crowded." - Yogi Berra

Rod Kestel's picture

Faceplant is a festering pile and Google isn't much better, syphoning your personal data for profit.
We are all commodities now.

Mike Dixon's picture

As much as I despise Facebook, I have to make the point that you CAN make money with videos on Facebook. That's why there are so many people ripping off and re-posting other peoples videos. https://www.facebook.com/business/learn/lessons/how-make-money-facebook

Jared Ribic's picture

Fast forward to 3:06 to get to the scary part about Facebook's "proprietary money", Libracoin.
If you violate Facebook's ambiguous "terms of service" (which are constantly subject to change) then you're unable to use your money, all because of not measuring up to Facebook's 'social standards'.


David Garcia's picture

Most people know Facebook Zucks :-) I don’t and won’t use it.

Deleted Account's picture

'Chasing the light, not likes' - my favorite shirt to wear while out making images.

Fakebook and Instasham are not the future and I am surprised people still hop aboard these platforms.

Lead the pack, do not follow it....

Rod Kestel's picture