Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) thinks it would be a swell idea to have auto-play videos with the sound turned on. The social media titan is reportedly looking at how its one billion users react to the auto-play videos with the sound on in their news feeds. Facebook is testing the idea out with a small number of mobile users in Australia. If it’s successful then you have to start getting ready to be annoyed.
Is Facebook trying to annoy us?
Do you like it when videos automatically play with the sound on? Yeah, we didn’t think so.
But Facebook is testing out a change to its primary mobile applications. The latest update would have video automatically start to play with the sound turned on. It is experimenting with a small number of Australian mobile users. They will see the videos in their newsfeeds activated with the sound as long as the volume on their smartphones are on.
In the same tests, some users will have the ability to activate and deactivate the sound by hitting a small button in the corner of the videos. This is very similar to how Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) and Vines work.
Today, users have their videos start immediately, but you have to click on the video to hear the sound.
“We’re running a small test in News Feed where people can choose whether they want to watch videos with sound on from the start,” a Facebook spokesperson told Mashable Australia. “For people in this test who do not want sound to play, they can switch it off in Settings or directly on the video itself.”
Facebook’s newest experiment is further proof that the social network is trying to become a video-centric ecosystem. The website has invested heavy sums of money into its video infrastructure as live streamed and pre-recorded videos have become very popular.
If the test in Australia works out then you could see more videos with the sound on. However, if Facebook wishes to please a large chunk of its users then it should refrain from doing so. Most users don’t want to be annoyed, especially if they’re wearing headphones or listening to music while browsing Facebook. It’s similar to how news websites automatically play their videos with the sound on or how brands have intrusive interactive ads.
As The Next Web writes: “Dear God no.”
Facebook Inc Isn’t the Only One With Autoplay
The auto-play feature has become crucial for social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter. Although tech firms say auto-play is meant to be more convenient, it is actually used to boost ad revenues.
Social networks want to cash in on digital video. It has been estimated that digital marketers will spend between $10 and $15 billion on digital video over the next couple of years. With 100 million people watching videos online every single day and hundreds of millions of people are a social network, businesses have to take advantage of auto-play.
Besides, brands will pay more for video ads than traditional display banner ads. Not only are banner ads ineffective since very few click on them, advertisers also have to contend with Adblock software.
Moving forward, be prepared for auto-play videos with the sound turned on. You just have to make sure the volume isn’t on maximum.