On Monday, February 13th, Facebook announced it will autoplay sound in the News Feed, even though some users declared they are against it. However, during the preliminary testing, it turned out most users were pleased with the change, while only a small portion opposed. There is some good news in store for those who do not completely agree with Facebook autoplaying sound. For starters, the feature will not interfere with audio in the background (in case users are listening to music already, they will have to manually tap the sound icon). Upon tapping the sound icon, any audio playing on the device will be paused for the duration of the Facebook clip so that soundtracks do not overlap.
A major concern for those who are against Facebook’s decision is that they will be caught red-handed in public, at work, at school, or maybe even on a date while attempting to browse the News Feed on the sly. Needless to say, this would lead to embarrassing situations in public or could bring about even some disciplinary action against some users. Luckily for those, the feature can be turned off in settings.
Looking at the reasons behind this change, it becomes rather obvious why Facebook is proceeding in spite of some negative feedback.
Reasons Behind Autoplay Sound Feature
First of all, the competition is doing it. Snapchat, Facebook’s biggest competitor, already leaves sound on by default. This made the social media platform a favorite place for both businesses to buy video ads and people to watch videos.
In terms of functionality, users will be able to adjust the volume by fiddling with the device’s volume rocker, instead of having to configure the video’s toggle and the physical rocker at the same time.
Initial tests showed that a lot more users were in favor of the change than those who opposed it. having to configure the video’s toggle and the physical rocker at the same time.
Initial tests showed that a lot more users were in favor of the change than those who opposed it. Subtitle-free videos might have played a part in it, as stylized and flashy subtitles on professional publishers’ Facebook videos can be distracting. Also, videos generated by regular users become second-class citizens, which conflicts with the social media’s platform policy to place family and friends first.
Past Controversial Changes
In the early beginning, a lot of people protested the News Feed’s launch the same way they go about the autoplay sound feature. As it turned out, the News Feed section is now Facebook’s most popular product and it wouldn’t come as much of a surprise if autoplaying sound will follow in the same footsteps.
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