Next up on the Outrage-o-meter: Autoplay video ads on Facebook

Brace yourself for the next great annoyance. After throwing the Internet into a tizzy recently with changes to its privacy policy and Instagram’s terms of service, Facebook is reportedly set to stoke the flames of the next source of mass outrage: Autoplaying video ads in users’ News Feeds.

Ad Age is reporting the Menlo Park social network will introduce the video ads by April, a move that seems as sure to spur a backlash from users as it will bring coveted TV advertising dollars.

According to the report, the targeted video ads will expand from a user’s News Feed on both the desktop and mobile versions, and begin playing automatically. Audio for the ads may automatically play as well, the report said, though commercials may be capped at 15 seconds each.

The prospect of an annoying and obtrusive autoplay function is already causing worries. “There could be serious outrage,” one ad executive told Ad Age. But the financial benefits to Facebook will likely outweigh the prospect of a fraction of its 1-billion-plus users leaving in a huff.

The move could become a major revenue stream for Facebook, as video ads typically sell for significantly higher rates than static ads. “They are looking to grab big chunks of money . . . millions of dollars,”  one source told Ad Age.

Facebook already uses video ads in users’ News Feed, but they must clicked on to play, and a friend typically has to first “Like” the product or comment on it.

So like it or not, the video ads are coming. But just think, without Facebook, what would we all complain about in our Facebook status updates?


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  • Roland Dumas

    and it will absolutely kill use of FB in the office.

  • Personally, I think anyone who accepts automatic ads in their news feed deserves exactly what they get. The few who use FB for anything important already have other, more serious outlets.

  • Tom Purchase

    Some of my ‘free’ games already have auto-start ads. They are annoying (especially during elections), but this is the price of ‘free.’

  • Kalani

    I hope Adblock prevents this on the desktop version. As for mobile version, I guess I’m uninstalling that app. Besides, I’m already sick of it asking me to install stupid apps that I have absolutely no interest in.

  • NickG

    AdBlock Plus. If you’re not using it already, you should be.

  • Frank

    Oh, it’s so simple. QUIT FB and QUIT Instagram. Maybe if enough people quit these ridiculously over-valued “companies” will go under and Wall Street will stop handing out billion dollar IPOs for web sites.

  • andrew

    If they add this to mobile, there goes their mobile user base.

  • Walt

    Let them incorporate all the video ads they want. The solution appears quite simple… The People app in Windows 8 (when connected to FB) currently shows one’s wall feed, minus any ads that are now appearing! Or install an Ad Blocker.