Facebook was fourth for online video in February 2011

Facebook took fourth place in US online video rankings last month, behind just Google sites, Microsoft sites, and Yahoo sites.

170 million US Internet users watched online video content in February 2011 for an average of 13.6 hours per viewer. 82.5 percent of the US Internet audience engaged in nearly 5.0 billion viewing sessions last month.

While Facebook dominates in the online photo space, the company only took fourth place in US online video properties, ranked by unique video viewers, according to comScore. The social network saw 46.6 million unique viewers experience 170.3 million viewing sessions for an average of 18.5 minutes per viewer.

Google sites, driven primarily by YouTube, ranked as the top online video content property with 144.1 million unique viewers. Microsoft sites captured second place with 48.8 million viewers, and Yahoo sites were third with 46.7 million viewers.

Facebook's move from sixth in January to fourth in February should be considered progress, right? Wrong. Facebook experienced the increase in its data last month due to the inclusion of an additional video serving location that it was previously not getting credit. Furthermore, Facebook has been in second place before: back in August 2010.

In fact, Microsoft was seventh in January and now it's second in February. This just shows how close the race for second place currently is: only Google has had nothing to worry about since it is so far ahead in first place.

Even if Facebook manages to grab second place for good, however, it has to figure out how to unseat YouTube. Palo Alto has to make online video more exciting (read: more social) for users on its website than what Mountain View currently has with YouTube. That is no easy task. Still, if any company can pull it off, it's Facebook.