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Facebook tackles YouTube with video counter, hits a billion plays per day

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Though it's still far from YouTube, Facebook fired a shot across its competitor's bow by saying it now serves up a billion native video views per day. In addition, its latest update (rolling out soon) has a YouTube-like view counter for public videos, making it easier to find popular selections or see how your own uploads are doing. Facebook said two-thirds of video views were from mobile devices, a stat no doubt helped significantly by the new auto-playing feature that's on by default. A recent video ranking change also gives frequent video watchers more options. But as the NY Times pointed out, Facebook's social nature can also send a video viral quickly. Beyoncé, for instance, garnered 2.4 million Facebook pageviews for a VMA video in four hours, while YouTube only chalked up a few thousand in the same time. Facebook also touted improved metrics for publishers, and is clearly interested in generating more video revenue -- it recently purchased a video ad firm called LiveRail.

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