How Much Do Facebook & YouTube Profit From User Generated Content? [Infographic]

By Megan O'Neill Comment

Something that a lot of people are unaware of is that when you upload content to your favorite social networks, these networks claim ownership of your content and, thus, reserve the right to monetize it.  That’s right—User Generated Content (UGC) accounts for a large portion of the profit made my social networks like Facebook, YouTube, Myspace, LinkedIn and Twitter.  But just how much are social networks making off the content that you, as a user, upload?  A new infographic from MyCube attempts to figure that out.

The MyCube infographic, called ‘How Much Is User Generated Content Worth?’, examines how much UGC is uploaded and viewed, including videos, photographs, links, notes and more.  They report that 360 billion pieces of content are shared on Facebook in a single year, 60 billion videos are watched on YouTube each month, and 36 billion photos are uploaded to Facebook each year.

In 2010, Facebook earned $1.860 billion in revenue, YouTube earned $945 million and Myspace earned $288 million.  All of these sites, and others, would be nothing without user generated content.  After all—if we weren’t updating our statuses, uploading pictures and sharing links and videos on Facebook, there would be nothing there to see.  The same goes for YouTube, Flickr, Twitter, and basically every social network.

MyCube closes out their infographic with the question, “Shouldn’t users own their own content?”  Personally, I think it’s a bit of a Catch-22.  After all, the social networks need to make money somehow and, by nature, they are jam-packed with user generated content so by monetizing their site, they are monetizing this content.  But YouTube shares revenue with the partners whose videos they advertise on and it’s not like Facebook and Twitter are selling a book of your personal status updates or Tweets for a huge profit.  By nature, their advertisements stand next to our personal, user generated content.  I think this is a small price to pay for the free use of these social networks.

What do you think?  Check out the infographic below and then share your thoughts in the comments.

Megan O’Neill is the resident web video enthusiast here at Social Times.  Megan covers everything from the latest viral videos to online video news and tips, and has a passion for bizarre, original and revolutionary content and ideas.