There are few things more annoying on the Web than having audio blare out when you’re not expecting it. But that’s precisely what Facebook is going for in its latest test, where it starts autoplaying video clips on your feed with sound.
To be fair, it’s a very small test. The company is currently trying two methods of getting people to watch video with sound in Australia: the aforementioned autoplaying, and an unmute button on the lower right corner of videos, like Vine videos on a desktop.
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The latter certainly sounds more reasonable; the last thing you want is to be checking Facebook quickly during a meeting or class, and suddenly have your phone blaring out an advert because you happened to stop on a video.
Of course, that may not seem so different from having a notification ring during a meeting, but unexpected audio is a lot more jarring than a simple notification sound. You’d have to take extra care to avoid videos on your Facebook feed.
Thankfully, you can disable the ‘feature’ from your settings, but the point is there’s nothing wrong with the current opt-in approach, especially considering how many companies are embracing video captioning, and that Facebook even has its own auto-caption tool for advertisers.
Facebook makes money from advertising, so it’s no surprise they want to push the limits of what works and what doesn’t, but let’s just hope this test remains exactly what it is – a test.