Facebook recently started serving autoplay videos on its mobile app that already have the volume turned up. Some users began to get messages this summer describing the shift -- away from autoplay video that at least started on mute -- as convenient. The message read: "Now, it's easier to enjoy video. We're always working to make Facebook a better place to watch videos. That's why videos now play with sound on automatically. Use the volume icon on any video to make the sound right for you."
Autoplay video in general has become widespread since Facebook made it a central part of its ad offering. Now many websites and apps include video that starts the second a consumer arrives.
Facebook introduced the new feature because it's one of the few areas where its upstart competitor Snapchat has a lead. Snapchat says its ads run 70% of the time with the volume on, and the company is critical of mute video, the kind that Facebook has proliferated.
Consumers, however, are not fans of autoplay sound, according to the Coalition For Better Ads, an industry group working to prod publishers to adopt less annoying ads. Video that automatically plays with the sound on is one of the least-liked formats there is, according to the group. Consumers find it especially disruptive because it catches the user off guard and often compels them to quickly close the window or tab in order to stop the sound -- especially if they are on their mobile device and in a public place, where such noise can be a public nuisance and personal embarrassment.
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