Facebook adds auto-play to videos ahead of inevitable video ads

Facebook has introduced “an easier way to watch video” by having clips automatically play in the News Feed of its Android and iOS apps. Why? To be more like Vine and Instagram – and prepare users for ads.

An update for Facebook is rolling out in stages that will support auto-playback of videos. The setup is similar to Instagram in that the videos will only start playing once a user stops scrolling and settles on the clip. However, that won’t be enough to fully enjoy the video because the app still won’t play audio. Facebook users must tap on the screen to launch the clip in full-screen with audio.

Only videos from individuals and musicians are currently allowed to play, but it’s a forgone conclusion that brands will eventually be able to use this feature to post video ads in the News Feed. A limited number of Pages for musicians already have access to it, and Facebook won’t pass up the opportunity to increase its revenue by charging companies to post video ads, something Instagram is also expected to do. In response to questions about advertisers playing video in the News Feed, Facebook says:

“At first, this feature will be limited to videos posted by individuals, musicians, and bands. We?re doing this to make sure we create the best possible experience. Over time, we?ll continue to explore how to bring this to marketers in the future.”




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