Facebook is testing a new mobile app feature called Instant Videos that downloads video clips for later viewing whenever a user's phone is connected to Wi-Fi, to save from burning through their mobile data plan.

First spotted by The Next Web's Matt Navarra and later confirmed by TechCrunch, the feature will identify pre-loaded and cached videos in the news feed with a lightning bolt icon so that users know they can watch them for free while on the go.

facebook instant videos


The Instant Video feature is in a similar vein to Facebook's Instant Articles, the hosted content format that loads much faster than mobile websites and negates the need to wait for a separate web app to load the content. Likewise, publishers could see the new feature as a way to get their video clips maximum exposure on the social network.

The feature could also benefit Facebook's own original content push, with video organized under the new Watch tab, allowing users to cache episodes for viewing on their daily commute.

According to TechCrunch, the Instant Video test is currently only available to a small number of Android users, as the company lays the groundwork for more budget-conscious users in the developing world. But it's likely the feature will eventually make its way over to Facebook's iPhone app if the mini rollout is deemed successful.

Top Rated Comments

jhfenton Avatar
66 months ago
Just No.

Facebook app is already one of the worst for ballooning cache size with no way of clearing it (other than un/reinstall app).
Agreed. Between that and the battery-sucking performance, I long ago deleted the Facebook app from my phone and replaced it with a saved Safari web link. On the rare occasion, I need to check Facebook on my phone, I just use the web link.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
kkamann Avatar
66 months ago
Just No.

Facebook app is already one of the worst for ballooning cache size with no way of clearing it (other than un/reinstall app).
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
4jasontv Avatar
66 months ago
Me: Why can't I watch this video I want to see?
Facebook: We are downloading videos you didn't ask for and will only see the first few seconds of because we autoplay them when you scroll past.

Me: Why can't I download this app update?
Facebook: We used all your storage saving videos you didn't want to watch.

Me: Why can't I watch this video you autodownload to my phone?
Facebook: Sorry, we we busy putting bee's in your car.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Xavier Avatar
66 months ago
I have no doubt the lightning bolts will appear on ads.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
CarpalMac Avatar
66 months ago
My favourite Facebook related video.

Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
thisisnotmyname Avatar
66 months ago
so instead they'll burn through ISP data caps :p
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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