Just two weeks ago we spotted Facebook testing auto-play videos in the desktop News Feed. Today our worst fears have come true: the long-awaited auto-play video ads are here.
In what could mark the beginning of the end of the golden Facebook era, Facebook announced that it will start testing auto-play video ads in your News Feed for a few advertisers. These videos will play automatically as you scroll to them in your News Feed, albeit without sound until they are clicked. When each video ad finishes playing, a carousel of two additional videos will appear to help people discover more content from the same advertiser. Among the first group of marketers to test Facebook’s auto-play video ads are Summit Entertainment and Mindshare to promote the upcoming Divergent film, to be released in March.
Facebook says that videos will be downloaded on mobile devices in advance (if connected to Wi-Fi), meaning this content will not consume data plans even if you have no Wi-Fi connection when a video plays. At least Facebook hasn’t yet abandoned the idea of making the Internet 100 times more affordable in its latest attempt to become 100 times more profitable.
You might be wondering if there is a way to prevent these ads from playing when they appear. Sure: if you don’t want to watch you can scroll past the ad, and it will stop playing. But I wouldn’t hold my breath on any opt-out settings.
If you’re tired of Facebook’s over-the-top advertising and constant suspicious changes to your News Feed, check out the world’s first truly unfiltered and open content network, coming early in 2014!