Facebook videos are becoming more like YouTube. Publishers on "Facebook Pages" can use new distribution options, add customizations such as user age restrictions and have a new destination page for managing content, Facebook announced Tuesday.
With the update, Facebook publishers can upload videos to the network and make them invisible on their timeline or searchable on Facebook. These "secret videos" are accessible via a third-party link and viewable by anyone, even those without a Facebook account. Publishers can also choose whether to allow embeds. Distribution can also be limited to a Facebook Page's videos tab, and therefore not published on News Feed.
Video views can also be restricted by age and gender, adding to the location and language filters on the site. Other customization options include new options for thumbnails, using a suggested screencapture from the video or uploading a different image. Videos can also be labeled with categories such as "Entertainment" and "News."
Lastly, Facebook created a new "Video Library" that helps publishers better manage and analyze their uploaded content. Users can filter videos by view counts and descriptions and then make changes, such as tweaking subtitles or thumbnails, in an effort to improve viewership. A box next to each video allows users to select content in bulk and make mass edits.
These updates, rolling out globally in the coming weeks, help transform Facebook to more of a video hosting site. The social network has been trying to convince brands and YouTube creators to publish more on the site, over its competitors. Yet, as Facebook only begins to test advertising through a select number of partners, not all are convinced.
“I know that YouTube creators are frustrated with Facebook’s algorithm," comedian Jack Vale, who has 1.3 million YouTube subscribers, told the Wall Street Journal. "You can have a million likes on your page but post something that’s only seen by a few hundred people and gets 20 likes.”
However, brands and news outlets have continuously relied on Facebook for content distribution. For example, BuzzFeed Video had 835 million views on Facebook in June 2015, according to data from Tubular Labs. Videos on Facebook receive 4 billion views per day from the network's userbase of 1.44 billion, CEO Mark Zuckerberg reported on the company's earnings call in April.
These video customization options comes after a slew of changes Facebook has made to improve video viewing on the network. Facebook is experimenting with more suggested video content and full-screen, vertical videos akin to Snapchat on mobile. Facebook announces its quarterly earnings on July 29.