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Facebook begins autoplaying user videos as it gears up for ads

Facebook begins autoplaying user videos as it gears up for ads

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Facebook's mobile app is about to get a bit more lively. Just like on Vine, videos uploaded directly to Facebook will soon begin automatically playing as users scroll past them in their mobile News Feeds. The videos will remain muted until they're tapped on, at which point they'll expand into a fullscreen view and continue playing with sound. For now, only videos uploaded directly to Facebook — not YouTube or other third-party services — by individual users, verified pages, and bands will autoplay, but Facebook says that it'll roll the feature out to other user types over time.

The first real sign of Facebook video ads

The change is almost certainly among Facebook's efforts to gear up for video advertisements, which have been rumored to be coming soon to the social network. By initially rolling out autoplay videos as a general feature, Facebook may be able to ease users into the experience of having video ads begin flashing through their feeds. That very concern over user discontent has reportedly led CEO Mark Zuckerberg to push the feature's launch date at least twice now. According to Ad Age, the new ads — which will reportedly be 15-second spots that appear for users up to three times a day — were most recently scheduled to launch in October, but have since been pushed back yet again.

A demonstration from Facebook of how videos will automatically play.

The eventual launch of video ads is expected to be a big source of revenue for Facebook as it continues to put a strong focus on monetization following its IPO just over a year ago. Ad Age reports that daily video spot orders could bring in $1 to $2.4 million each, and should function just like the new feature that the company is announcing today. Facebook isn't hiding its interest in the video commercials either. While it notes that the new video feature has a limited user base for now, it also says that it will "continue to explore how to bring this to marketers in the future."