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

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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.

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