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Facebook invades your feed with auto-play video ads

Updated Dec 18th, 2013 2:29AM EST
Facebook Auto-Playing Video Ads

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Facebook on Tuesday confirmed that it will bring auto-playing video ads to the news feed only hours after The Wall Street Journal published a story saying that the social network will indeed sell video ads, as the company aims to get a piece of the $66.4 billion video ad business. The first video ads will promote the new film “Divergent” and will initially be shown to a small number of people, according to the company.

The ads will play automatically but without sound, as they come into view in News Feeds on the desktop and mobile versions of Facebook. In order to hear sound, users will have to click or tap on the video and play it in full screen mode. At the end of the video, other suggested clips will appear. To make the video go away, users will simply have to scroll past it. Facebook says that videos will only play on mobile devices after having been downloaded when the device was connected to a Wi-Fi network.

In this video, Facebook shows how video ads will work on a smartphone.

Facebook has been testing the advertising feature since September, seeing “views, shares and comments increase more than 10%” for these ads. The auto-playing video ads is a “new way for brands to tell stories on Facebook,” according to the company, which will work to further improve the experience for users and marketers. The Journal says that the social network planned in August to charge $2 million a day for advertisers to reach every Facebook user aged 18 to 54.

It’s not clear at this time whether users will be able to stop videos from playing automatically. However, users that aren’t happy about the new feature that’s coming to their news feeds can always tell Facebook about it in writing – as the social network supposedly collects all written content inside the network, even for messages or status updates that aren’t posted – or use the new “dislike” button available in Facebook Messenger in conversations about it with friends.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.