FacebookAutoplayEarlier this month, Facebook rolled out a new feature that allows in stream videos to play automatically.  Officially, the roll out is still in the test phase, but a large number of people have already noticed a problem with the new “feature”.  Since many Facebook users access the site from a mobile device, they are now in danger of going over their data cap limits and receiving costly fees.

Whether you like it or not, Facebook plays a central part in both the business and personal lives of many people.  In an effort to capitalize on this, and provide “convenience” to users, Facebook introduced the Auto-Play feature, which will not only play linked videos automatically, but also play the next related video in a playlist.  The value to Facebook here is that a constant stream of delivered videos means a constant stream of delivered advertisements.

Users who only use Facebook from a PC are unlikely to find the new feature more than a minor annoyance, but mobile devices are another story entirely.  Users who have ended up with the new feature have reported that their mobile data usage has doubled and some Facebook “power users” have reported a three or four times increase.  The Facebook mobile app offers the option to turn off video Auto-Play but what makes the newest update particularly damaging is that it is on by default, even if you had switched it off in the past.

If you are a heavy mobile user, we highly recommend that you check your Facebook app settings to ensure that you don’t use up a large percentage of your monthly data allotment unnecessarily.  If you are on an Apple device, go to settings and scroll until you find Facebook. Choose Settings and select the Auto-Play setting and choose either Wi-Fi only or Off.  If you use an Android device, the Auto-Play settings are within the Facebook App itself.  Select the top menu and then choose Settings.  Video options should be at the bottom of the options panel of the left hand side.  While not as necessary, you can also turn Auto-Play off in the same manner on the normal browser version of Facebook.

– Richard Keene
IT Computer Support of New York
Webmaster and Lead Designer