Videos in your Facebook News Feed may soon autoplay with the sound on, a big change that might not sit well with some users.
The change, which is currently being tested with “a small percentage of people on mobile in Australia,” was first reported by Mashable and confirmed by Facebook to Business Insider.
“We’re running a small test in News Feed where people can choose whether they want to watch videos with sound on from the start,” a Facebook spokesperson said. “For people in this test who do not want sound to play, they can switch it off in Settings or directly on the video itself.”
All Facebook videos autoplay by default when you scroll past them, but you normally have to tap into them for sound to play. With this change, sound plays the moment a video starts as you scroll.
Facebook is treading cautiously, as a noisy News Feed could prove irksome to many users.
But Facebook says that 50% of time spent watching videos on its network are already played with the sound on and that this test is to determine if that experience is best for everyone.
Since Facebook made videos autoplay with the sound off by default, many publishers have started adding subtitles to their videos. Facebook even has a tool for advertisers that automatically adds subtitles. Sound being enabled by default in the News Feed would make those subtitles obsolete.
Facebook doesn’t want publishers rushing to ditch subtitles just yet. The company routinely tests changes like these with a small subset of its users and never rolls them out broadly. A spokesperson said that publishers and advertisers on Facebook needn’t jump to change how they edit videos for this test.
Update: In October, Facebook requested that we change the statement that “50% of videos” watched on its network are played with the sound on to “50% of time spent with videos on Facebook are with sound on.”
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