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Facebook’s auto-playing video ads may be a tough sell to users

2013-12-15
Scroll and you might miss it: a video ad in your News Feed.

Facebook’s long-rumored auto-playing video ads are finally here. Sort of.

Reports of video ads on the social network have popped up here and there over the last year, but Facebook was slow to make such a big move. The odds of angering its user base seemed enormous. So there were tests. And more tests. Some users started seeing auto-playing videos in September. Then, Facebook rolled out its most recent app update, which delivered auto-playing videos to all users. The time to strike, it seems, is now.

But Facebook is still calling Tuesday’s introduction of auto-playing video ads a test. Only a small percentage of people will see ads for the new Kate Winslet film Divergent play as they scroll through their News Feeds on both mobile and desktop version of the site.

Facebook knows auto-playing videos are annoying. People don’t love ads shoved in their face as they’re trying to go about their day. So the videos will play silently unless you tap the frame to turn the sound on. You can also scroll past the video to avoid watching the ad.