Facebook testing auto-play for videos, precursor to video ads

By on September 14, 2013, 10:00 AM

Facebook is in the process of testing a new mobile feature for Android and iOS users that will automatically play videos embedded in a News Feed as you scroll through it. The clips will initially play silently and if you don’t want to watch it, just keep scrolling. Tapping the video will take it full screen and enable audio.

The feature is only being tested with a small number of users at first to help iron out any bugs. It’s worth noting that auto-play videos will be limited to those posted by individuals, musicians and bands – no YouTube embeds or the like are allowed. Brand pages are also being excluded for now, we’re told.

Early feedback on the new feature is mostly positive as videos are said to load quickly, even over a wireless signal. Clips played seamlessly while being moved around in the feed and once a video dips off the screen, it stops playing to avoid excessive data usage. Overall, the experience is said to be smooth and natural.

Facebook is clearly peddling this as an easier way to watch videos on the social network but the obvious takeaway is that it’s simply a precursor to video advertisements.

Back in July, it was reported that Facebook was planning to launch 15-second television-style ads that would sell for between $1 million to $2.5 million per day. That would translate into an additional (and likely significant) revenue stream for the social network with companies like YouTube paving the way.

User Comments: 10

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Skidmarksdeluxe Skidmarksdeluxe said:

It's a good thing I'm not a FB user. I'm sure Twitter will also have something like this in the pipeline. Good thing I'm not a user of that as well or any other social networking site.

1 person liked this | Jamibi said:

Just wasting my data limit on crappy ads on facebook. Not funny :/

3 people like this | IAMTHESTIG said:

Lot's of websites are doing this now and I F*CKING HATE IT! I close the website immediately and I usually don't come back. Pissing off your customers is not a good business practice.

1 person liked this | JC713 JC713 said:

Just wasting my data limit on crappy ads on facebook. Not funny :/

Yeah seriously. FB screws up again.

1 person liked this | NTAPRO NTAPRO said:

I really hate it on other websites because the sound will start playing first even if you don't click on it

Arris Arris said:

Time to abandon ship. Good way to eat up peoples limited data allowances. Thinking with their wallets, not their brains. Fingers crossed there is a "wi-fi only" setting.

gobbybobby said:

So long as theres the option to disable it.

Railman said:

Yet more bloat to contend with! I hate sites with pop up ads that are often difficult to close down. Another pain is sites that seem to grab memory and stop working. Toms Hardware is a pretty poor site for that.

negroplasty negroplasty said:

If they do this I'll just pull out of FB. G+ has a way better experience anyway, FB only needs to be dumb a couple times and they'll be the next MySpace. Smooth move, greedy bastards.

MarkHughes said:

I only visit there once or twice a day and treat it more like an email client, this would be reason enough for me to call it a day on that site, I hate video ads with a passion especially if they have sound and Facebook won't work with Adblock.

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