Facebook starts forcing people to listen to videos as they scroll down their feed – but it can be turned off

The change will make it easier to watch videos, according to the company

Andrew Griffin
Wednesday 28 June 2017 14:22 BST

Facebook is rolling out plans to start shouting at people as they scroll through their news feed.

The company is adding sound to its auto playing videos – meaning that as people scroll through the app, they’ll be subjected to all the noise from all the videos that are there, whether they like it or not.

Facebook says that the change is intended to make it easier to watch videos on the site. But it’s also probably a part of its plan to become a major player in video – encouraging people to watch more of them and allowing advertisers to more easily reach people.

More and more users are seeing messages telling them that videos on their news feed will start automatically making noise as they scroll down.

The message that shows to users who are given the feature tells them it has been done to make it “easier to enjoy video”.

“We’re always working to make Facebook a better place to watch videos,” it reads. “That’s why videos now play with sound on automatically. Use the volume icon on any video to make the sound right for you.”

The site does accept that people might well want to turn off the sound, in much smaller text at the bottom of the message.

“Facebook respects your preferences, so you can also mute your phone or turn off sound in your app settings,” it admits.

When Facebook revealed the plan, back in February, it said that the change had been made because people expected sound to come out as they scrolled through their feed.

“After testing sound on in News Feed and hearing positive feedback, we’re slowly bringing it to more people. With this update, sound fades in and out as you scroll through videos in News Feed, bringing those videos to life,” representatives wrote in a blog post.

But the feature can easily be turned off – removing autoplay in general if you prefer, which helps preserve battery life and data, as well as avoiding intrusive videos.

To do that in iOS, users should hit the menu button in the bottom right corner of the screen and head to account settings and then sounds, where there’ll be an option to turn of “News Feed Start With Sound”. On Android it’s much the same – hit the menu button in the upper right corner and head to app settings.

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