October 31, 2015

Auto-playing video on Facebook and Twitter: love it or hate it?

Facebook introduced it long back and Twitter did it recently: on your homepage on Facebook or Twitter, the video on the screen starts playing by itself, though without sound. You scroll down and the  next video on the screen plays out.

Do users really like video autoplay? 

We surveyed the www to see user reactions, and we find majority of users annoyed by this feature to different degrees. One found it embarrassing when the video played itself before her young daughter, one felt she was being forced to watch ads for no reason. One says, he will stop using the site for forcing the video on him. The responses range from stupid to highly annoying.

But then why are these social networking biggies indulging in this? Because autoplay is loved by advertisers as they can push their messages more forcefully and without giving the viewer a chance to say no. Mind it, video advertising pays more handsomely to these sites than text and image advertising.

Moreover, some viewers do like this feature and some find it tolerable because the video plays quietly. We also found some viewers who started liking this because they discovered some videos of outstanding quality. One thanked Twitter as he could now view action which he might have not seen if he had to click on static thumbnails. 

Autoplay of videos sucks bandwidth and so your internet costs may rise if you do not have an unlimited bandwidth plan. Since it takes more bandwidth, it might slow down your other internet-using apps or downloads.  Slower mobile phones may find this feature slowing down the phone itself, though not much.

Thankfully, you can go to settings in the app and stop autoplay.