Facebook videos — and ads — are about to become noisier as a result of some app updates the social media company announced today.
Audio soon will play automatically in News Feed videos, a change from the current arrangement that keeps them silent until the user clicks on the video.
“As people watch more video on phones, they’ve come to expect sound when the volume on their device is turned on,” Product Manager Dana Sittler and Engineering Manager Alex Li say in a blog post. “After testing sound on in News Feed and hearing positive feedback, we’re slowly bringing it to more people. With this update, sound fades in and out as you scroll through videos in News Feed, bringing those videos to life.”
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They add that videos will remain quiet on phones set to silent. In addition, users can opt out if they go to settings and switch off “Videos in News Feed Start With Sound.”
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In addition to the audio change, Facebook plans to expand users’ ability to watch videos on TV. They can do so now by using Facebook’s app through Apple TV and Google Chromecast. The company says today that it will add Amazon Fire TV and Samsung Smart TV, with “more platforms to come.”
Facebook also will make it possible for users to minimize a video on a mobile device so it will continue to play while they scroll through the News Feed. Android users can keep videos playing after they close Facebook’s app.
The company considers video “a megatrend on the same order as mobile,” CEO Mark Zuckerberg told analysts this month. He wants users to “think of Facebook as a place for interesting and relevant video content from professional creators as well as their friends.”
It’s important for advertisers, COO Sheryl Sandberg added. “We’re seeing consumer video exploding on our platform … and that really creates the opportunity for video ads in the feed,” she said.
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