Photographer ran Facebook page with 2m likes; overnight, it disappeared

A 2007 file photo of photographer Willy Foo.
PHOTO: The Straits Times

Meet Willy Foo. He's an accomplished professional photographer from Singapore. He stands out for running an incredibly popular Facebook page with over two million likes.

That page has disappeared overnight.

You can still see traces of it on Google though:

But click on the link, and you'll be directed to an error message:

Turns out Facebook removed it. "The account was disabled as a result of repeated intellectual property violations," a Facebook spokesperson told Tech in Asia, adding that the page contradicted Facebook's statement of rights and responsibilities.

"We take violations of our standards seriously, and that is why we remove content, profiles and Pages that violate our standards when we are made aware of it."

The spokesperson said that Facebook received a complaint, and took action after determining there were grounds to do so.

A Facebook search revealed that Willy had repeatedly posted viral videos taken from other sources. Take for example this video, created by Canadian company 2D House:

David Dvir, owner of the firm, confirmed to Tech in Asia that the video belongs to him.

"Indeed this is our video and the Facebook page and Willy Foo have both used it without permission," he said, referring to another page that pirated the video and attributed it to Willy.

This is a common pattern: Willy would post a video, then other Facebook pages would in turn make a copy, upload it to their page, and credit him.

While his own page has been removed, you can still see the tags to it, minus the link.

See also: Freebooting: Stealing billions of views with others' work

Willy responds

The photographer tells Tech in Asia that he has indeed uploaded videos from other sources and didn't ask for permission. However, he claims that he credits the sources whenever possible.

Read the full article here.

Other TechinAsia.com stories

- Facebook is mostly to blame for Willy Foo’s copyright infringements

- Can Facebook likes pay the bills?

- 7 new things I learned from Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg in his interview with Y Combinator