Facebook Now Testing Autoplay Videos With Sound in iOS App

Tuesday August 23, 2016 6:18 AM PDT by Joe Rossignol

Starting today, Facebook will begin testing autoplay videos -- including ads -- with sound in its iOS and Android apps. Facebook told Mashable the test will be limited to Australian users and rolled out in two different ways to gauge how users react. In both versions of the test, sound will only play if the iPhone's volume is turned up, and sound can also be turned to "always off" in Facebook settings.

facebook_video_ios

In one version of the test, sound plays immediately as the video begins, if you have sound enabled on your device. Another group is able to turn sound on during the test session using an icon that will sit to the bottom right of videos.

Both groups see a pop-up message informing them about how to use the controls, and sound will only play if the smartphone's volume is up. If you don't want to annoy your workmates, sound can also be turned to "always off" in Facebook settings.

The test is interesting given that Facebook's own research concluded that mobile users prefer having the choice to opt in to sound, with 80% of people reacting negatively towards both the platform and advertiser if sound is unexpectedly played. But, given that Facebook is an advertising-driven company with aspirations of pushing deeper into video content, autoplay sound may eventually be a necessary evil.

Top Rated Comments

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Avatar
47 months ago
Autoplay is the first thing that I disable in the Facebook app. Sound or not, no thanks.
Score: 25 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
47 months ago
I'm going to guess that the reaction is negative, guys. Just like the reaction to forcing people to the Messenger app. They recently blocked users from even using the mobile webpage to access FB messages on mobile. This is just another example of how out-of-touch the guys running the show are.

I'm from the generation of "original" Facebook users who were starting college when Facebook first came out and was limited to college students. We've been on Facebook for 11-12 years now. Yes, almost everyone in my age HAS a Facebook account, but almost nobody actually posts anything anymore. People still look at it constantly, but also like to complain about how much we hate it. The only thing keeping people on Facebook is a sense of connection to their old friends from HS and college, and they are *this* close to pushing people away with their user experience and privacy issues.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
47 months ago
Wow, how obtrusive and disrespectful even if you can disable it. I can't believe people still use that crap.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
47 months ago
Pfff really? How much more of these annoyances will people put up with to keep up with old friends and relatives? Facebook is trying to find out it seems.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
47 months ago
Auto play of video and/or sound is one of the most annoying things on the Internet to me. I'd prefer to have the choice to start it or not; not have it start on its own.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
47 months ago
I'll see you in Hell, autoplay.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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