Longtime Facebook users will undoubtedly be familiar with the multiple iterations of the newsfeed.
In fact, when it was first introduced 10 years ago, it became the subject of intense debate as people were questioning its usefulness, and more importantly how it “invaded their privacy”.
Fast forward a decade later, the newsfeed is what defines Facebook today, offering not just snippets of your friends personal lives, but also photos and videos.
When Facebook first launched the ability to share videos, they were basically static thumbnails which only came to life once you clicked play.
Then, in 2013, we saw the first inkling of what was to come in the future of Facebook video sharing – the videos were now able to autoplay silently when you scroll through your newsfeed.
Audio only kicked in if you clicked on the video to watch it.
Then came live videos which made its debut in April 2016. Again, it will autoplay silently until you tap on it.
With the heaps of ‘viral’ videos shared among users, it’s still a relatively peaceful experience considering that you can just move on to the next item on your newsfeed if the video doesn’t interest you.
Well, not anymore.
It Just Got More Annoying Now
In a move which frankly no one asked for, Facebook decided that it was in our best interests to have the audio of said videos playing at the same time while we browse our newsfeeds.
Facebook says that in their user research, the sound was switched on in the newsfeed, and given that it (apparently) got positive feedback, the company is currently in the process of rolling it out to more users.
In their defence, they say that the “sound fades in and out as you scroll through videos in News Feed”.
Okay, at least you will not be scared out of your wits if you happen to scroll past a relatively loud video. But honestly, this will sure give rise to some awkward situations in some typically silent environments.
Other More Welcomed Improvements
It was not all noise though as Facebook at least had some other more welcomed features that we can look forward to.
Vertical videos now have better integration on mobile platforms, letting users on both iOS and Android watch them in a larger format, making videos typically shot in a vertical format such as live videos look better.
If you do find a video that you would like to watch on your newsfeed, you now have the option of minimising it into a thumbnail that you can drag to any part of your screen as you continue scrolling through your newsfeed, much like what you are able to do on other apps such as YouTube.
Lastly, to show the world that Facebook is dead serious about video, they will be releasing a fully dedicated app for it, which will be made available on smart TV platforms such as Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, and from TV manufacturers as well like Samsung.
With this, they are now making it possible to stream Facebook videos from friends, family, and pages you follow direct into your TV.
It remains to be seen how far-reaching the (negative) impact of enabling the audio on videos will have, but as with all other Facebook rollouts, we pretty much don’t have a say in the matter.