Facebook embeddable videos: Privacy on parade

Facebook has added the option to embed your wobbly low-quality videos on other sites, and in wobbly high-definition too! What's the twist? Actually that's private...

Richard Trenholm Former Movie and TV Senior Editor
Richard Trenholm was CNET's film and TV editor, covering the big screen, small screen and streaming. A member of the Film Critic's Circle, he's covered technology and culture from London's tech scene to Europe's refugee camps to the Sundance film festival.
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Richard Trenholm
2 min read

Facebook has not only gone high-definition with 720p video, it has also added an option to embed your videos on other sites. It is this feature, we'd argue, that made YouTube the video-hosting behemoth is today. Facebook isn't the first site to offer these features -- Vimeo and SmugMug do HD, and even good old CNET.co.uk offers video embeds -- but it does have one feature that puts it above the others: privacy.

Where the 'Book differentiates itself from the 'Tube is that, once the video is embedded, the privacy settings that you set on Facebook apply to the embedded video across the web. If you make the video only visible to your friends on Facebook itself, then the embedded video can only be watched by your friends if they are logged into Facebook. That's the kind of interwebs black magic that makes our heads hurt.

Facebook's terms suggest that you only upload video that you or your friends either appear in or shot. Shouting drunkenly and falling over is optional, but do seem to feature pretty heavily in most of the videos we see, for some reason.

We uploaded a video of digital music-meister Nate Lanxon spanking the skins at the recent CBS Interactive battle of the bands. Several of our talented CBS staff rocked CNET Towers -- all for charidee -- and were recorded by mobile-phone man Andrew Lim on our trusty Flip Mino. We've set the video to be visible to everybody in the London network on Facebook, so, if you're a devoted cockney FaceBooker, you can watch Nate get busy. If you're not, or if you're logged out, then it's no Nate for you. Sorry!

YouTube built its market lead on the ability for users to share both home-grown video and bite-sized chunks of content they didn't create, as well as mashing up the two. Facebook video seems more limited in scope. The privacy thing is clever, but we can't help thinking that, if your friends need to be logged in anyway, they could just as easily watch the video in Facebook as on your blog. Still, at least everybody's spared the chore that is wading through YouTube comments.

What's that? You still can't see Nate drumming? Oh, go on then, 'cos it's Christmas. Click through to the next page for the unlocked version of his percussive perfection.

Bonus drummer joke: How can you tell when a drummer's at the door? He doesn't know when to come in.