The CEO of YouTube took a shot at Facebook: 'They should get back to baby pictures'

  • YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki was dismissive of Facebook's video ambitions during Recode's Code Media conference.
  • Wojcicki said that Facebook "should get back to baby pictures."
  • Facebook and YouTube are competing to become the dominant social video platform.

YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki joked that rival site Facebook "should get back to baby pictures" rather than attempt to become a video platform that competes with YouTube, according to a report on CNBC.

Wojcicki was speaking at Recode's Code Media conference on February 12 and was asked by journalist Kara Swisher whether she's concerned about Facebook's growing video ambitions.

11 richest YouTube stars in the US:

The 11 richest YouTube stars in the US
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The 11 richest YouTube stars in the US

11. Liza Koshy 

Subscribers: 13.5 million

Liza Koshy, formerly a prominent Vine comedian, started to gain a massive following on YouTube in 2016 with humorous videos that she produces weekly. Koshy has since gone on to star in the Hulu series "Freakish!" and Tyler Perry's horror-comedy "Boo! A Madea Halloween."

10. Jake Paul 

Subscribers: 13.5 million subscribers

2017 estimated salary: $11.5 million

Jake Paul started out as a personality on the now-defunct Vine, creating comedic shorts with his older brother, Logan Paul (the eighth most popular YouTuber in the US). Paul now posts comedic videos, original music, and other material on his personal YouTube account. He has also become something of a villain in pop culture, as has his brother (see No. 8).  

9. Roman Atwood 

Subscribers: 14.260 million 

Roman Atwood is an Ohio-based vlogger who posts prank videos and other humorous daily-life updates that often involve his girlfriend and three kids. In November, Atwood premiered his own YouTube Red series, "Roman Atwood's Day Dream," which focuses on "extreme stunts."

8. Epic Rap Battles of History 

Subscribers: 14.269 million

Epic Rap Battles of History started as a live improv skit by two friends, but quickly become an online sensation. Founders Peter Shukoff (NicePeter) and Lloyd Ahlquist (EpicLloyd) pick two figures from history or pop culture and imagine what it would be like if they faced off in a rap battle. The videos are entertaining, with characters as varied as Darth Vader, Adolf Hitler, Abraham Lincoln, and Chuck Norris verbally battling one another in full costume.

7. Logan Paul 

Subscribers: 16.6 million

2017 estimated salary: $12.5 million

The former Vine star and older brother of Jake Paul has over 16 million followers on his personal YouTube account, where he posts vlogs and reaction videos. Paul drew intense criticism in January for filming the body of a man hanging from a tree in Japan's Aokigahara forest. YouTube withdrew some of its backing of Paul in the wake of the controversy by removing him from Google Preferred and putting his YouTube original projects on hold. 

6. Fine Brothers Entertainment (FBE) 

Subscribers: 16.7 million

Brooklyn natives Benny and Rafi Fine are the two online producers/writers/directors who created the successful React video series. In React's various iterations — Kids React, Teens React, Elders React, and YouTubers React — the brothers show viral videos to people and film their reactions. In 2016, they were involved in a controversy over trying to copyright the React video form that drew widespread backlash and led to a campaign to unsubscribe from the duo's channel.

5. JennaMarbles 

Subscribers: 17.83 million

JennaMarbles (real name Jenna Mourey) has long been one of the most recognizable stars on YouTube. Though she started her career with BarStool Sports, Mourey soon moved into video after posting "How to Trick People into Thinking You're Good Looking," which quickly blew up. Her channel features comedic videos about being a young millennial woman.

4. Markiplier

Subscribers: 19.5 million

2017 estimated salary: $12.5 million

Mark Fischbach, known as Markiplier, is a YouTuber focused on gaming. He has an energetic style. Fischbach has ambitions beyond YouTube, as well. He once told Variety that he wanted to "push [himself] into music and acting." 

3. NigaHiga 

Subscribers: 20.4 million

Ryan Higa, who goes by the username NigaHiga, was one of the first major YouTube stars. Higa produces a variety of comedy videos, including sketches, music videos, and short commentaries on pop culture. His videos have high production value and a professional touch, with a quick, funny, and incisive sensibility.

2. Smosh 

Subscribers: 22.8 million

2017 estimated salary: $11 million

Smosh, started by comedy duo Ian Hecox and Anthony Padilla, was one of the first YouTube sensations, becoming well known for the duo's slapstick comedy videos that parodied video games and pop culture. Anthony Padilla left the Smosh channel in June 2017 to create his own solo YouTube account, which now has over 2 million followers.

1. Dude Perfect 

Subscribers: 26.8 million

2017 estimated salary: $14 million

Dude Perfect is a channel from twins Cory and Coby Cotton and three of their college friends from Texas A&M, all of whom are former high school basketball players. They do sports tricks and comedy, some of which makes fun of sports stereotypes.


"I mean you always have to take your competitors seriously, but you don't win by looking backwards and looking around," Wojcicki said.


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Swisher pushed her to expand on that response, asking "what do you think they're doing?"

"I think they should focus on what they're focused on," Wojcicki said. "I think they should get back to baby pictures and sharing."

"I'm not an expert about Facebook. They're experts in it and they should do what's best for their business. And look, we should all compete for content. I build our business and I focus on what we need to do, and I know that we have a lot of things to do. You can always remind me of all the things that we need to do and we're going to keep doing them because that's the way that we're going to get stronger."

Facebook and YouTube both want to become the web's go-to video platform

Wojcicki's shot at Facebook comes as the two companies are battling to control social video. Facebook has been ramping up the amount of video it shows in its news feed, and introduced new advertising options including pre-roll and mid-roll ads for creators.


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And Facebook is also expanding its Facebook Watch program, which is its television-like service for people to watch videos from professional creators and creators lured from YouTube.

For the first batch of Facebook Watch shows, Facebook reportedly spent $10,000 (£7,200) to $40,000 (£28,000) per episode for short-form series, and $250,000 (£180,000) to $1 million (£721,000) per episode for TV-length original series.

However, Wojcicki's comment does touch on an important point: Video is a relatively new part of the mix of content on Facebook, and the company has indicated that it's going to refocus its news feed on content from friends, rather than pages.

"When people are engaging with people they're close to, it's more meaningful, more fulfilling," said Facebook's director of research David Ginsberg in an interview with The New York Times, "It's good for your well-being."

And the ever-changing nature of Facebook's news feed algorithm can make it difficult for creators to steadily grow their audience. One creator Business Insider spoke to, Jessica Nigri, said that her reach on Facebook had been "decimated."

"I have noticed that videos in general are receiving less reach than usual," she said. "It's concerning because a lot of people depend on social media to showcase their work and reach new audiences."

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