According to a post I once saw on Facebook, idly scrolling through the News Feed accounts for two-thirds of all wasted time for American office workers. Well, Facebooking at work is about to get a little more dangerous, as the social network is starting to trial autoplaying videos with sound. Better grab those headphones!
As Mashable notes, some Australian mobile users will start seeing the autoplaying audio today on the Facebook app. In case you were looking for another reason to delete the main Facebook app, this is probably it.
The test comes in two different varieties. According to Mashable, “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 video.”
Apparently, there will be an option in Facebook’s settings to always turn off sound, which I imagine is going to be a button that gets clicked a lot.
Pushing sound is an interesting change for Facebook’s News Feed video, which up to now has been almost always silent. Publishers have gotten used to adding subtitles to Facebook video in the hope of keeping users engaged for a few crucial seconds, until it registers as a view.
But successful though video has been for Facebook, autoplaying sound will almost definitely be a step too far. Users already get fed up with Facebook’s app burning battery life, so much so that some people have just switched to using the mobile website and uninstalling the app. If autoplaying video with sound rolls out worldwide, I can see the app getting booted off everyone’s devices, starting with mine.