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Facebook failing to remove groups showing pirated films

Matthew Field
Facebook said it will not remove the groups unless contacted by a rights holder - PA

Facebook is allowing private groups with hundreds of thousands of members to share pirated and illegal copies of films.

The scale of the piracy problem on Facebook sees huge groups which have existed for years distributing videos of Hollywood movies, in breach of Facebook's own user guidelines and in spite of its thousands of human moderators.

Facebook said it was not its responsibility to take down movies or other pirated content unless they were contacted by the rights holders.

The groups include names like "Full HD English Movie" and "Free full movies 2018", Business Insider reported. Within the groups, some movies are shown in full, while others provide links to other websites offering up free downloads or video streams.

Facebook said it is not able to determine if the content is infringing copyright. "Facebook is not in a position to determine what content a rights holder believes infringes their rights," a Facebook spokesman told the website. "If a rights holder identifies content on Facebook they believe violates their IP rights, they can report it to us at any time using our online reporting channels."

Facebook's community guidelines state: "Before sharing content on Facebook, please make sure that you have the right to do so".

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Facebook has also found its piracy policing under scrutiny during the football World Cup. Up to 80pc of all piracy infringements of World Cup footage took place on Facebook and Twitter, according to research company Irdeto.

Social media sites have become the platform of choice for online piracy. Over 5.4 million social media users have tried to watch World Cup 2018 matches illegally so far.

During the second half of last year, Facebook and Instagram took down 2.8m pieces of content based on 370,000 user copyright reports, according to the social media giant's transparency report.