Facebook’s Double Standard: Blocks Tsū While Incentivizing Their Own

The Facebook/Tsu controversy will go down in the annals of social media history as an epic case of a dominant social network bullying another. For those who are not aware what has transpired over the course of the last few weeks, all you have to do is Google search “Facebook Bans Tsu” or “Facebook Censors Tsu” to rifle through a plethora of articles and fan complaints cyberventilating their way across the blogosphere.


Tsu’s business model is predicated on paying its users 90-percent of their advertising revenues. In addition, their algorithm is also based on an MLM recruitment schema that pays more when the posts of a user's down-line recruits garner viewership.

The fly-in-the-ointment that  touched a nerve with Facebook, initially came when founder Mark Zuckeberg's team learned that Tsu’s more aggressive users were using the FB platform to post links to improve their recruitment efforts.

However not to look petty in the eyes of the public, Facebook justified their unprecedented move by stating that Facebook blocked Tsu because it violated the company’s TOS policies.

“We require all websites and apps that integrate with Facebook to follow our Platform Policy,” Facebook spokeswoman Melanie Ensign told WIRED. “We do not allow developers to incentivize content sharing on our platform because it encourages spammy sharing and creates a bad experience for people on Facebook.”

Therein lies the rub . . .

Created by Tsuvian Rockstar Jon DunnCreated by Tsuvian Rockstar Jon DunnBy falling back on their TOS to justify this form of censorship, it resulted in Facebook’s party-line-position not only looking ill-conceived, but as an over-reaction, which quickly back-fired. Because in connecting the dots and following their line of logic — if they determined that incentivizing content was open to abuse and could cause “spammy sharing"  — wouldn’t the same hold true for Facebook incentivizing their own video creators?

Equal Opportunity Censor

It appears Facebook has both ends of the social media spectrum in its cross-hairs. In addition to targeting the young upstart Tsu, Facebook apparently wants to usurp the authority of the world’s largest search giant as well. Well, maybe not Google per se - but one of its most lucrative revenue producing-offspring — Youtube.

This year Facebook launched ‘Suggested Videos’ for users to upload directly to their platform — no longer in need of YouTube to act as an intermediary.

To boot, this group of users are incentivized. The videos that keep people watching will earn a greater share of the revenue from embedded ads, where Facebook will award them a 55-percent cut.

"Facebook is aggressively moving into the video space," said Eleni Marouli, advertising analyst at IHS consultancy.

"In December 2014, Facebook surpassed YouTube in views for the first time, and we predict YouTube will lose share from next year onwards."

So cash incentives is what’s on the table, and definitely at work here. And if that wasn’t enough to show that Facebook is speaking out of both sides of their mouth, add to this enterprising boondoggle the fact that FB is now being accused of allowing some of these video users to also pirate the work of others.

Add ‘Freebooting’ to the mix . . .

Today, as I was adding the final edits to this blog, I learned from Android Headlines, that FB was allowing the practice of ‘freebooting.’

According to this report, “It turns out the majority of Facebook’s videos originated on YouTube, and they have essentially been stolen from their creators. What is happening is that people other than the original creators are downloading videos from YouTube, and then uploading them into Facebook’s video service,” as their own.

What’s good for the goose is apparently not good for the gander

By allowing the freebooting intervention, Facebook is essentially earning ad revenue off of stolen YouTube content. Which begs the question: Has Facebook grown too big for its britches? Do they think that 1.5 billion users affords them the latitude to enact censorship measures on one network, while stealing from another? Will that cut the mustard without any public scrutiny or outcry?

Surely this case study sets historic precedent  — but less we forget, when Facebook was a young upstart itself, just one short decade ago, we witnessed just how ruthless Zuckerberg et al could be. In fact an Academy Award-winning movie actually documented every Machiavellian step they took back then to become the number one social network in the world.

But for anyone who has lived on this earth long enough is aware, nothing lasts forever. Evolution and the law of impermanence are inevitable factors that consistently churn through the old to get to the new. Facebook's unscrupulous tactics can only last for so long. Someone, someday, smarter then them will rise up to knock them off their perch.

And if I can't make you a believer in that, I have one word for you: MySpace! 

Nov 17, 2015
by JediBret
JediBret's picture

“We do not allow

“We do not allow developers to incentivize content sharing on our platform..." So, does that explain why they are ok with YouTube videos which pay creators via the ads that roll with them (ads that roll with the video, even when played on Facebook)?