INTERNET: Why UNILAD, BOY CHAD, SoFlo and other "Entertainment" groups are a cancer to Facebook and the internet at large.
Like many of you, I spend a lot of my free time (which I have plenty,) scrolling through Facebook, watching stuff on Youtube when I'm not watching stuff on Crunchyroll or The WWE Network, conversing with acquaintances and internet friends on Twitch, and basically procrastinating on the internet in general whenever I'm not playing video games or going to work like designing shirts.
But for as much as I use and generally still like Facebook as a whole, good lord does it have problems that it desperately needs to fix. From loading issues on some of it's games, (which I haven't touched on purpose in literal years) to spambot accounts barging scamming unsuspecting users through fake porn links or fake giveaways, to scam artists using people's religion and feelings to emotionally extort them with "TYPE AMEN" schemes (which I can write a whole blog about,) not to mention the unnecessary features they keep tacking on that hardly anybody asked for or uses just to compete with everyone, there is a variable smorgasbord of scuzzy slimy disgusting crazy vile desperate casually sexist cringe or even vomit inducing sleaze, and corporatism, and Ponzi schemes and other serious problems ruining Facebook that could eventually dig them the kind of grave MySpace dug for themselves in the late 2000's. (Again, each problem worthy of it's own blog.) But the one I'm focusing on in this blog, is a relatively minor problem in terms of internet safety, but a major problem in terms of generally being a good internet user and a problem for anybody trying to make it on the internet. The issue at hand, is a dirty tactic the internet has dubbed "freebooting." And oh god the freebooting Facebook allows...
What is "freebooting" exactly? Freebooting is the act of downloading someone else's video, posting it to Facebook and not giving any credit. There's also leaching, which is basically more polite and helpful freebooting where you at least credit the user or whatever page uploaded or reuploaded it first, but you don't provide the link to the original video which usually doesn't make nearly as many likes, shares and comments as the reupload. Even if the original video is posted in the comments. Freebooting and leaching often include taking someone else's video, adding different banners captions and intro etc just to be a little more transformative and to brand it as their own "look at this funny fail" or "TRY NOT TO LAUGH!!" video to boost business, despite the fact these entertainment brands didn't make these videos originally, they just slapped their captions and logos on it to make them their own. To assimilate them. Leaching attention away from the original user like a parasite. And 8 times out of 10 in many of those cases, the person who actually made the video or originally posted it didn't ask for it to be reuploaded or altered. They usually just made it for themselves or a friend or relative. Sometimes even their own businesses.
Why is it bad? Well if hypothetically you were to freeboot, you would basically be stealing other people's work and taking away the attention, credit and even revenue that the user who really made the video could and should be getting. But they aren't. Because you've reuploaded it without their consent. And since Facebook pages marked under "Entertainment" and posting a lot of videos on a daily to weekly basis get a ton of likes and shares, you're gaining your cheap 15 minutes of fame every time you reupload someone else's content that you did not make, and 9 times out of 10, you were not asked to reupload. Which is dishonorable, sleazy, and pretty damn douchey even if you didn't mean to be.
I first found out about freebooting when a great Twitch streamer and video game DJ/chiptune artist I know by the name of Benjamin Briggs posted this to Facebook.
This scumbag company Aniware, had stolen a song and video his friends and fellow colleagues at Gamepedia and GameChops spent hours or even days on, (between Gamepedia's video production and GRIMECRAFT at GameChop's DJing,) they took all the credit citing "we put hard work into this" when they didn't, and revealed to the world just how fucking sleazy and dishonorable they are. If you're curious, here's the hilarious video THEY STOLE. Which has been updated with new Pokemon Sun and Moon footage.
That's why it's a bad, scummy, down right socially inept tactic. It doesn't really promote the person who's video got reuploaded, in fact it hinders their success at the expense of boosting the success rate of these businesses freebooting random people's videos! It doesn't help Facebook, it gives Facebook Video a scummy toxic image among content creators even if the average bored Facebook user doesn't care. The videos stolen are rarely even that funny, (except for that GameChops video up there,) they're usually just random, obnoxious, rarely amusing and usually pretty boring in-jokes or loud public occurrences nobody else knows until it inexplicably becomes a meme, or a pointless forgettable topic to discus among the gossip freaks for like an hour. (Though that's just my own opinion.) And it barely even helps the freebooter! The people who like these freebooting pages or their posts and videos, they just like the stolen content that may amuse them and most don't even know or care that they're all stolen content. And once word gets out that the video is stolen and enough people care about that, e-drama ensues. Usually the more deserving kind! (if you scrape away the toxicities like parody accounts and death threats etc. Which is far worse than freebooting.) Giving the freebooters in question all the wrong kind of attention and maybe even dropping their like count pushing them off that ladder to fame and fanfare despite what little fortune they may have earned. And even if they can rebuild their seldom amounts of e-fame, it's still just from people who like those mildly amusing videos they steal and not the actual person or business stealing content. Because god knows they usually don't make anything of note on their own. Take for example, the infamously controversial YouTube "prank" video producer SoFlo Antonio and his "empire," SoFlo. I'll let TheGamerFromMars' "Internet Hall Of Fame" episode on that explain.
He likely knew he couldn't get really big or stay big just off of sexist and creepy cringey as fuck fake "pranks" where he pretends to drug women or where he harasses people until they kick his ass, so what did he do? He went into the lucrative but dishonorable and sleazy business of being a Facebook freebooter. Just stealing other people's videos, slamming his face on the intro claiming "this is how I react when" at the beginning, and watching the likes and shares pile in without giving any credit at all to the original video or the user who actually made it. And even making Youtube compilations of other people's "pranks" when only some allowed him to "centralize!" (a freebooter's term for freebooting.) He got in frequent trouble even with his teenage fanbase, e-drama ensued after funny talented users like h3h3 and LewReview made fun of his sleazy tactics and really bad unbelievably fake pranks, and so he eventually had to stop that shit and start asking people for permission and giving credit at least in the comments. (Though he may still be stealing on occasion.) And he still hires actors for homeless "social experiment" videos (which are just YouTube "pranks" with the guise of being sensitive or socially aware,) but then he frequently turns around by mocking the homeless with douchey "homeless pranks," harassing people mostly women in public for "kissing pranks" and hiring actors to comply so he can sell that image of being a playboy. Or, filming "watch what happens when" experiments where he hires really bad actors and badass bodybuilders to pretend to catch each other cheating like a low-budget YouTube version of Cheaters without any of the entertainment value unless you're into that. And getting his ass royally whooped in the process of acting like a total idiot whenever it's his turn to play the fool. All while blatantly ripping off concepts from other even worse "prank" and "social experiment" video producers like Prankinvasion and OCK TV. The kind of stuff even anti-feminists cringe at and call sexist. I can't tell what's worse. The originators, or the copy cats.
Now you would think that the SoFlo fiasco would have been the end of freebooting and would have shown the world that freebooting is a very very bad thing. But there are other businesses like UNILAD, BOY CHAD, several copies of scam pages like UNOFFICIAL:Funny Vides, (actual spelling) and multiple Vine or "meme" compilation pages on Facebook and some even on Youtube, that are still making a bogus business of literally stealing other people's videos. All they do is just add some blurry side bars or an attention grabbing caption almost ad-libbed with horribly spelled titles like "wen ur frend step in 2 da club" with annoying emojis surrounding it, as they continue to siphon the views and likes away from other users despite how awful their grammar can be on purpose. And what makes this more perplexing to me, is that it's usually a random child or someone's dad filming their kid complaining, or a random teen boy or girl goofing off with their friends, something inane made by random minors or middle aged people just for their friends, discovered and stolen by these freebooters! These freebooters are so desperate for e-fame that they download that kid's video, and make it their own with their annoyingly distracting emojis and banners and "TRY NOT TO LAUGH!!!" captions to further force these pointless stolen videos to become viral for an hour so they can become famous Off of other people's work. Or, they ask politely if they can "centralize" that child's video, get permission, maybe give credit in the comments which is a bit more commendable, but still urge the viewer to like their business before they tell people to check out who actually made that video they are leaching off of. Like taking candy away from a baby and claiming they bought it. And they post this parasitic garbage in between posts promoting their shitty image gallery sites and garbage clickbait articles sometimes affiliated with non-trustable services like MyLikes. All made just to further force themselves into internet fame because the only thing they care about, is fame. Even if it comes from someone else's effort or a child they don't know.
Most have the means to make their own shit and do make their own shit, yet still feel the need to freeboot and leach! For example, look at BOY CHAD. A majority of his Facebook videos are just random Vines and YouTube clips he stole from random people and slapped his logo onto like he's fucking TMZ,
But he makes his own shit on Youtube! And it's high quality too! Why even bother?
Just upload your own shit and think of something funny to make dude! You got a gooddamned crew and equipment to just make a living off of your own work. Cut the crap.
And it doesn't stop there. Why just recently I came across this fucking page.
The musicians they have on there are amazing. Some of the best I've ever seen or heard. But NONE of these videos show credit to the artist, the person who filmed these videos, any links to the Facebook pages or Youtube channels these artists may own, these videos are just "look at this talented person!" and nothing else. NOTHING. It's literally "here's someone with talent like MY page to see more!" And their business model? Basically "we share shit" but nothing saying "we promote talented people by name or company." Just bogus business strategy.
That's not sharing, that's mooching! That's parasitic marketing. Even if you asked them permission first you're still just leaching off of their talent so you can get success, under the guise of promoting people when you're just in it for yourself.
Then there's this guy. MrTechnicalDifficult. Who not only freeboots and leaches off of other peoples videos to the point of (like many) stealing from kids, but he also shares douchebaggy clickbait "watch when this ___ does ___" articles also making a business off of other people's random, usually not even close to funny and even mildly Facebook TOS breaking videos that are so stupid, not even World Star Hip Hop would be desperate enough to steal them. Some of which promotes a very douchey sleazy dude-bro stereotype of what a man is supposed to be. Like, I don't mean to come across as a "oh toxic masculinity!!" SJW, but some of this shit is so douchebaggy borderline racist or borderline sexist, even some anti-feminists would call the overall atmosphere and comments tasteless. You could almost smell the AXE body spray and 3 day old Mtn Dew, A1 Steak Sauce and Funions stains. Not that those products automatically make you a douchebag in fact those latter three are rather glorious but still just, WHY? Why are pages like this still a thing?
And the sad part is, his commenters are usually funnier than this dude-bro! (when they aren't being all "this came from an inmate's butthole" toxic.) Who is this for? WHO?
Now, bootlegging a movie I can understand for as scumbaggy as that is. You know people wanna go see that thing, you know you can make money off of it, so you would download a torrent somewhere and burn it to DVD for a quick buck. Or stream it for free on a scuzzy free stream website. Bootlegging games and making unofficial bootleg figures I can also understand as scumbaggy and hilarious as that can be. You wanna make money off of any unsuspecting parent or child that doesn't know any better, when really most of your revenue will come from people who know better, know the build quality is donkey ass but they want a good laugh anyway. I understand bootlegging a PPV as scummy as that is. You want other people to watch the ongoing UFC or WWE PPV without having to subscribe to their networks or go to Fite.tv. Bootlegging of all kinds is based off of desperation and sometimes even poverty ans as scummy as it is, I can understand why some people bootleg officially licensed IPs. But bootlegging an internet video? Why? Why do that or make that a business? That's like taking candy from a baby, and then selling it on eBay for a dollar higher with your business card double-stick tapped to it. It's complete and absolute nonsense!
Now, like I said, sometimes some of them like The LAD Bible (a subsidiary of UNILAD) will actually give credit to where they first found it. Or actually credit the original uploader in the description or comments. Maybe even drop a link to the original video which is even more commendable. But it's confusing to me, because
YOU COULD JUST SHARE THE LINK TO THE ORIGINAL VIDEO.
Seriously it isn't rocket science! Just about every video service like Youtube, Vine, Vimeo, and even news outlets like TYT have a Share button. You could just friggin' find and click the Share button, or much more quickly copy the link to the video, plop that in a Facebook post and see if you can monetize that with the "Boost post" button! You'll get many of the likes and comments you would have gotten if you reuploaded it including the revenue, you'll look good because the viewers could freely like the original video over on Youtube or Vine or whatever, they get fame, you get fame especially for your patronage, the uploader could promote you if they wanted, and you don't look like a slimy thieving asshole sundae. It's a win win situation because you're not stealing the SEO and relevance and revenue from the original video!
But then again, it might not show up in the Suggested Videos section on people's feeds. So, if you wanna gain real success on Facebook Video, JUST MAKE YOUR OWN SHIT.
You'll get literally all the likes and comments and shares making your posts popular if you're any good at making mildly interesting "comedy" or "prank" videos, some of the highest rated and most shared Facebook videos, except it's your shit. So again you don't look like a turd pizza. Because you didn't steal or mooch.
At least be like 9GAG and devote a special video player on an external site if you have the coding knowledge. Say what you will about 9GAG but at least on their website, they plop YouTube links onto a gallery so the original videos still get the views they need, and you even have the option of clicking the YouTube icon and liking or commenting on the actual video. It's a nice gesture, that gets all the attention UNILAD's offerings do.
Now, why are these pages bad for society at large? Well it's quite simple. The dumbing down of our youth and even middle aged. Let me explain.
Now I'm not gonna get too sensationalist and assume or spread the lie that all entertainment has an effect on culture and society in terms of behavior and belief. It really doesn't. Violent video games, songs, movies and other media and fiction DON'T make people violent. I've played tons of gory bloody games, watched gory bloody movies, shows and seen bloody creepypastas, I've listened to hardcore rap and metal, I've even attended bloody wrestling matches which have real blood, and I never have murdered or mutilated anybody or even attempted those vicious acts or suicide nor would I ever. Because that would be stupid. Sexual entertainment, female promiscuity and "the male gaze" DON'T contribute to rape culture. I watch porn on the regular and have been a fan of things that have some form of objectification or another, and I still respect women as human beings and I never have and never would rape anybody or advocate it. In fact rape scenes I avoid like the plague. Because it's disgusting. And media showcasing LGBTQ+ people in a positive light DON'T turn people LGBT or Q. I have transgender friends and at least one or two who are bi or lesbian, and I'm straight as the day is long! But what separates the cringey controversial "entertainment" of UNILAD or the YouTube prank genre, is that they try to push their stuff as real, (if they made it,) or pass it off as manly or as comedy (if it's freebooted.)
There's a whole article by The Guardian about how UNILAD alone has had a habit of promoting rape as "surprise sex" Which is bad no matter if the victim is female or even male! Or how they have promoted chauvinist douchebaggery as a cool thing for little boys to do and as a male thing Which makes anybody with a penis look bad. I highly suggest you read their article about UNILAD with proof they're this douchey, regardless of if you're for or against feminism. I personally consider myself feminist because I'm for equality. Not all of them are SJWs, and even the SJWs can sometimes get something right.
And their commenters just eat it up. There are dozens of little boys looking at jokes about "surprise sex" or giving into their "kissing pranks" and thinking this will make them playboys. Commenters of all races, ages and genders sending positive comments as if these thieves and scumbags made the videos. Millions of shares making these posts out to be the funniest thing ever, when it's hardly even amusing to be honest. Is a teenager giggling and admiring his friend's white shoes or a dog running in circles after eating fucking spinach really that "OMG try not to laugh!!" hilarious? Is it really? Where's the joke? Am I missing something? I'm no expert at comedy, I'm not claiming to be comedic genius like fucking Charlie Chaplin here but come on it isn't that funny, and those freebooters didn't make it and they rarely if ever have the permission to steal it.
What's more boggling to me is that despite how they might be making money off of other people's work on Facebook and even more money off of public harassment for views, stolen videos and formats, or promoting douchebaggery and intolerance as manliness or as a culture, they still have that blue watermark! That stamp of approval saying "this is a trusted business" When they are literally bootlegging random internet users and filming unfunny douchey fake pranks!
Sharing videos is fine. Hell I won't begrudge you if you shared a freebooted video or compilation because you just found that clip to be funny. I can't begrudge you for laughing even if I don't get it. Copy-pasting links to videos is fine. Using clips for a review or as a GIF is fine even because that's just fair use. But reuploading a video or altering it to make it your own and/or all about you, with your face in it? Why? That's just dumb, douchey, self centered and irresponsible!
Don't be a tool. Don't freeboot. And while we're at it,
Stop making "TRY NOT TO LAUGH!!!" challenges.