Facebook ups the video ante with new developer tools

Social media giant Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) ratcheted up its competition with Alphabet's (NASDAQ: GOOG) YouTube and Twitter as it angles to become the top ad-supported video site, releasing two new developer tools: an embedded video player API and support for the open-source oEmbed standard.

"We're always looking for ways to make it easier for developers and publishers to use material from Facebook to make their websites more social and engaging for their audience," Facebook's Lucas Cheon said in a blog post on the company's developer page.

The new API allows developers to create customized and interactive overlays for the embedded Facebook player. This gives them a way to showcase their publicly available videos via Facebook's player in a way that works for their app, and doesn't lock them into Facebook's standard. That could be attractive to brand advertisers as well as publishers that want to tap into the social media site's demographic-targeting power but maintain a unique look.

The social media provider in its blog post showcased overlay features developed by uStudio, a video platform provider which also offers the first authoring platform that includes the Facebook developer features, its HTML 5 Interactive Player Framework.

"Brands can now "wrap" native Facebook players with custom features that travel with the video anywhere they're embedded, and provide valuable audience analytics back to the business," uStudio said in a media statement.

Developers can now also build oEmbed support for Facebook into their content management systems. An open-source embed management platform, oEmbed makes it simpler to link to Facebook videos and other content – further increasing the social media giant's reach.

Facebook's goal with video is to become a go-to standard for publishers and advertisers, stealing market share away from YouTube's ad-supported empire. The social media site's users watch more than 4 billion videos per day, according to The Wall Street Journal, a solid base that companies can target with ads and viral videos. However, the website's video-friendly environment sparked controversy a few months ago when several YouTube creators pointed out that it was appallingly easy to steal a YouTube video from a channel and repost it as one's own video on Facebook, leading to lost ad revenue for the original content owner.

While promising stricter policing of its video platform, Facebook has also moved ahead with several video-centric initiatives. The site began testing a dedicated video page in mid-October, bolstered its publisher toolkit with several new features, and is also testing a video matching service with a few unnamed partners.

For more:
- see the blog post
- see this VentureBeat article

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