Facebook Content Policy – Be Mindful of the Copyrights Issues
As more and more people jump on the bandwagon of live streaming, leading social media platforms are striving harder to maintain a strict content policy and copyright regulations. And as broadcasters continue to experiment and innovate with Facebook Live, we see Facebook become more stringent about what type of content is allowed and what gets flagged.
In This Blog:
- Branded Content
- Branded Content Policy
- Facebook Content Policy
- Strike-Based System
- What Type of Content Gets Flagged?
- Why Does Your Content Get Flagged?
- Still Want to Stream Anyway?
- Let's Only Stream by the Rules!
🎯 Branded Content
Facebook defines Branded Content as “any post — including text, photos, videos, Instant Articles, links, 360 videos, and Live videos — that features a third party product, brand, or sponsor.” Additionally, publishers and influencers can tag a marketer when they publish their branded content on Facebook. This offers everyone the incentive to share more quality content while also allowing more transparency in marketing. Moreover, using this tag, the marketer will be able to access post-level insights and will also have the option to share and boost the post.
🔖 Branded Content Policy
According to Facebook’s Branded Content Policy, overly promotional features such as pre-roll advertisements and persistent watermarks are strictly prohibited. Additionally, profile pictures and cover photos must necessarily not feature third-party brands, products, or sponsors. However, branded content integrations such as product placement, marketer’s logos, and end cards are allowed.
🏷️ Facebook Live Policy
Video streams shared on Facebook must adhere to the Facebook Live Policy:
- Prohibited Practices - Facebook Live video must not mislead the viewers that a video is streaming in real-time when it is not. That is, you cannot portray a pre-recorded video from last year to be streaming as an event occurring right now.
- Inaccurate Location – Facebook Live video must not mislead the viewers that a video is from a different location than the actual location.
- Pre-Recorded Content – All pre-recorded content must be marked clearly as pre-recorded. In a composite video that contains both pre-recorded and real-time streams, only the pre-recorded part must be marked as pre-recorded.
- Looping or Static Content – Facebook Live must not be used to broadcast looping videos, poll-only videos, or static images.
- Content with Music – Facebook Live should not include music pieces and full-length recorded tracks longer than 30 minutes. Moreover, the video should have a visual component; recorded audio should not be its primary focus. Make sure you have permission from the rights-holder (s) to use their music on Facebook Live.
- Live Performances – Live performances (such as singing or playing an instrument) are generally not restricted as long as they do not contain prerecorded materials.
❌ Strike-Based System
Facebook keeps a close watch on the type of content is shared on the platform. Content that violates the Facebook Content Policy is immediately flagged for violations. Sometimes, the video is stripped off audio, and in other instances, it is terminated altogether.
The users are often left in awe of what happened. They fail to understand why their stream ended abruptly. What’s even worse is that Facebook doesn’t even send out an error message to inform the user about the violation or offer any reason as to why the stream ended. It takes a lot of investigation to identify what really happened.
🚨 What Type of Content Gets Flagged?
The following types of video streaming content might get flagged on Facebook and removed for Copyright infringement:
- Recorded music from a sound system playing in the background
- A video originally created by someone else
- A video that contains music owned by someone else
- An attempt to create a music listening experience
- Violation of other Facebook Community Standards
Pro-Tip: Even if a small portion of your pre-recorded video contains any copyrighted content, your entire stream will be immediately blocked. So, while creating your video, be mindful of the Facebook copyright rules.
⚠️ Why Does Your Content Get Flagged?
As a simple rule of thumb, you cannot stream any content that doesn’t belong to you. You lawfully don’t have the right to play this content unless you own it. So, if Facebook does allow you to stream such content, it will be liable for copyrights infringement. Hence, you won’t be allowed to do so. More importantly, copyrights infringement laws are highly stringent, especially in the US. So, letting people play content that they don’t have ownership rights to can potentially mean millions of dollars in fines and legal fees. So, Facebook does have a strong and valid reason to flag your content if it is not yours.
You might counter-question: I have the rights!
Well, how’d you inform Facebook in advance that you have the right to streaming content? Unless the content owner has allowed fee distribution of his material over social media, it will be taken down immediately. Interestingly, you can inform Facebook in advance for pre-recorded streams and submit a counter-notification in case of an issue. However, it is not practically possible for real-time streams to proactively stop your stream from being blocked.
🛑 Still Want to Stream Anyway?
Not convinced enough? Still want to stream anyway?
Well, in that case, be prepared to face the following consequences:
- Strike - You will get a strike each time you violate Facebook Content Policy.
- Ban - Your content type determines how many strikes you are allowed before your account gets banned. For instance, if you post exploitative child content, your account will be immediately banned with a single strike. For lighter offenses, you might be allowed two or even three strikes.
Pro-Tip: Strikes are not permanent. However, Facebook doesn’t share the duration of the strike on the user’s record. So, you’ll have to be careful yourself.
📝 Let’s Only Stream by the Rules!
The last thing you want is getting flagged on social media. If you’re a newbie streamer, remember there’s a set of rules to abide by. Make sure you familiarize yourself with the copyright regulations for each social networking platform before you jump into live streaming. Here are a few tips to avoid getting flagged on Facebook for copyright infringements:
- Be original, don’t copy
- Stream content that belongs to you and not someone else’s work
- Have a Plan B ready just in case your content gets flagged
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