back to article Facebook to debut auto-play video ads in 2013

Facebook users have a new form of advertising to look forward to in 2013, when the social network will begin inserting full-motion video ads into their news feeds. According to a report by Ad Age, Zuck & Co are so hell-bent on pulling in big bucks from TV admen that they plan to debut the dubious new feature no later than …


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  1. LarsG

    This will be the beginning of he end, most people become ad blind after a while anyway, or use a program to block the ads from playing.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      It's what stopped me using Yahoo back in the day, the adverts and videos popping up.

      1. JetSetJim

        Angry Birds does it

        quite annoying, too, as it ignores the sound settings on the phone

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Angry Birds does it

          Autoplay anything is a dealbreaker for me. I hate that shit.

        2. Lallabalalla

          Re: Angry Birds does it

          Yeah well, "angry birds" does this too, these days

          1. Oninoshiko

            Re: Angry Birds does it

            yes, but angry birds already make noise, and because I'm expecting noise when I hear noise (provided it's out greatly out of the range I'm expecting) it's not jarring, and therefor not as annoying. Pandora does it as well, and as long as the volume is inline with the music, it's not too annoying.

            When I am silently reading a page and I get a booming voice showing, "FOR JUST TWELVE EASY PAYMENTS OF NINETEEN NINEDY FIVE..." It makes me jump, which means that I am absolutely not planning on buying your product, and the site hosting the ad just made my shit list.

        3. Semaj
          Thumb Down

          Re: Angry Birds does it

          I'm glad I'm not the only one whose noticed this. I thought maybe it was something set wrong on my phone or it was a version issue (I have an Ace so not exactly newest). Surely it should be impossible for apps to do such an override and it's a bug in the OS?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Exactly, if they are static block ads, people don't even read them. If they are annoying auto-play or pop up ads, people stop using the service. AdWords work, trying to get more people to click on ads with more ad content is counterproductive.

      1. wowfood

        video / sound baseed adds, the one thing more annoying than that advert that pops out from the side just as you're hovering over a link.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      This is what arseholes the people in Facebook ARE.....

      (forgotten site)

      "Facebook users were warned they would be facing more spam and fewer voting rights after a global vote on users' rights failed to reach its 30 per cent voting target."

      Instagram, a photo-sharing application for smartphones that was purchased this year by Facebook Inc. for $1-billion (U.S.), prompted anger from thousands of its more than 30 million users this week when it announced a change to its terms-of-service agreement – the virtual document every user must agree to in order to use the app. Under the new terms, which come into effect Jan. 16, Instagram can effectively do anything with its users’ photos – including, many of its users fear, sell them to corporate advertisers without asking permission or offering compensation to the people who took the photos.

  2. starbaby

    First one I see will be the last one I see. Already annoyed with all the sponsored crap in my news feed but at least that's easy to scroll past. The last thing FB needs is another reason not to use FB.

    1. The BigYin

      Can you id the "sponsored crap"? You might be able to set up a GreaseMonkey script (or similar) to remove the crap.

      I must admit, I feel a bit guilty at the level of ad blocking I employ as i know sites need money. I drop it every now and again to see if things have improved, but it has only got worse. Even on this very site, some floating puff for the latest MS sack of crap deigned to hover over the comments the other day (just like MS, still trying to catch up with last decade) and the length of time is takes to load all this junk (never mind the insidious tracking and profiling) caused me to raise shields again.

      If the ads didn't flash and didn't jar with the content, I could tolerate them.

      1. Mike Flugennock

        Feeling guilty? Bah!

        I must admit, I feel a bit guilty at the level of ad blocking I employ as i know sites need money. I drop it every now and again to see if things have improved, but it has only got worse...

        Feeling guilty? Don't. You don't owe the advertisers jack shit. Just because they pissed away a buttload of cash to have their crap shoved in your face doesn't mean you're obliged to look at it. C'mon, man, El Reg is paid whether your browser loads the ads or not.

        I've had "shields at full intensity" for nigh on ten years. I see practically no advertising at this or any other site, and I don't feel the least bit guilty about it. Screw 'em. Asshats.

        It's the same approach that I take towards TV, without guilt or apology. I tape the show and fast-forward through the ads; when watching live TV I mute the volume when the ads come on and use that time to grab a sandwich and a beer and take a quick piss.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Feeling guilty? Bah!

          "C'mon, man, El Reg is paid whether your browser loads the ads or not."

          I'm fairly sure that would change rapidly if enough people blocked the ads and the advertisers knew about it.

          1. Anonymous Coward

            Re: Feeling guilty? Bah!

            Ummm no....

            Shoving endless fucking adds in my face, for shit that I neither want, need, have asked for, or expressed a genuine interest in, is NOT advertising, it's wasting my fucking time, my screen space, and it annoys the absolute fucking piss out of me.

            Without add blocking, web pages and sites would be congested from beginning to end, with utter fucking crap.

            These days the ONLY difference between spammers and "fucking advertisers" is that they seem to think that just because they place adds on sites, that a) Your agreeable to them, and b) that you even want their fucking shit, and c) pissing you off with millions and millions and millions of adds for fucking everything, that for the most part I neither want, need or are on my agenda of things I need to buy, is some how going to endear me to them even more.

            And the spammers do the same shit, minus the websites.

            Fuck - when ever I build a NEW computer, the first things - Firefox and ALL of the add blockers, like "Adblock Plus" and "Element Hider", Flash Block, Javascript Block, Tracking Cookie blocker and one or two other things.

            Advertisers are like a flash mob party of drunken young people, all out on the streets, thousands and thousands of them, all yelling to hear themselves above everyone else who is yelling to hear themselves.

            And they just don't fucking get it.

            People are into shutting the doors and windows, turning the stereo up and tuning into their own trips and ignoring the incessant back ground din.

            If I have ONE good bicycle, I don't want or need 5,000 adds an hour, every hour, all day, every day, to buy fucking cars..... that I don't want or need.

            I might need ONE new bicycle every 10 years.... so that is like about 500 billion modes of transport adds that I didn't want, need or desired to see, between the events of actually needing a new bicycle, and going buying a new bicycle.

            1. Stacy

              @Oh4FS Re: Feeling guilty? Bah!

              What websites do you visit? I've never had to install an add blocker, and never had much of an issue.

              Sure there are a few that have adverts constantly annoying the hell out of me. I just don't go back, there are plenty of useful sites in the world that don't have in your face adverts without having to install crap on my computer to make them to make them usable.

              Imagine if El Reg started with adverts that meant you could not read the content until you had clicked lots of little 'x' boxes. Everyone installs add blocker, not much changes. Everyone stops visiting the site and suddenly there is a very different issue for the site and they have to do something.

              Blockers and ranting are not going to change anything.

              Or... Just use subscription sites that don't have adverts. I still don't get that people expect everything for free... Do you get paid for your work? Or should your boss just expect it from you for free too, like you expect content online?

            2. Neil 51

              Re: Feeling guilty? Bah!

              "Shoving endless fucking adds in my face, for shit that I neither want, need, have asked for, or expressed a genuine interest in, is NOT advertising, it's wasting my fucking time"

              So you'd be happier with increased web tracking so ads could be more tailored and less of a scattergun approach? No? How about paying a subscription to access websites? No? Everyone at El Reg working for free maybe?

              Websites need to be funded somehow and advertising is always going to be hit & miss. Sure, they could tone it down and video ads are bloody annoying, but what's your alternative? Genuinely interested in if you have any answers, or are just ranting.

          2. cmaurand

            Re: Feeling guilty? Bah!

            Actually it's not. It's paid by the click.

        2. Stacy
          Thumb Down

          Re: Feeling guilty? Bah!

          Err... Not exactly no. Some advertisers pay per click, some pay per display and some just pay a fixed amount. So by blocking the content you are possibly / probably blocking the revenue stream that allows 'free' websites to work.

          The other option of course is a subscription model, where you pay for the content as in the days of buying a magazine in a store. But most people don't want that either - paying for something that you use seems to be a dirty thought these days.

          To be honest most of the adverts that I see on the reg are fairly benign, nothing that really annoys me. If there is something that catches my eye I may even click it.

          Having said all of that full screen video adds, with sound, with the same add up to three times a day (so many of these damn things will be seen each day!) would be enough for me to think twice about keeping my account...

  3. Sean Houlihane

    Bagsy a proxy that eats my daily quota of adds.

  4. zanshin

    Good luck with that

    I'm sure a lot of people will be stuck sucking up those ads, but I bet it will generate a lot of ill-will. I can't say I blame Facebook for trying - they're literally obligated to try and monetize their users, but I don't expect users to like this particular method of it. I'll be interesting to see if networking effects keep users stuck there, or if such blatant ad peddling drives them elsewhere, perhaps to Google+. Google, to its somewhat underhanded credit, is generally more subtle in how they monetize users through cross-product tracking. They show us ad videos on YouTube, but hey, at least you went there looking for a video.

    Personally, given that video is not fundamental to Facebook's core use, I'm confident I'll be able to strip out such nonsense on my desktop browser. Given that I run a miserly data cap on my mobile data usage, if they try to force it on me as a smartphone user I just won't access Facebook from there. (I really think that forcing video viewing on people using a mobile data connection would be an outrageous PR fail for them, though. A "video ads on wi-fi only" setting would probably go a long way to mitigating that.)

    1. The BigYin

      Re: Good luck with that

      Maybe that's the plan. Make the ads annoying and just before people start to flee offer them a deal "£5 to look at content your friends have given us for free and without ads!"

      1. Captain Underpants

        Re: Good luck with that

        @The BigYin

        I couldn't see it working. "Pay us to turn off the annoying crap we just introduced" works for nobody - users get annoyed at being expected to fork out cash for a service that only achieved its current size on the back of being free of ads and free to access at point of use (which, yes, was a very silly decision on the part of FB, but hey, it's a dotcom, silly decisions are par for the course), and advertisers paying to get their expensive videos shown on this hugely popular platform aren't going to be happy if the platform rolls out video ads at the same time as a "pay to not see video ads" option.

    2. Mike Flugennock

      Re: Good luck with that

      ...They show us ad videos on YouTube, but hey, at least you went there looking for a video.

      And besides, you have the option of clicking past the ad in five seconds.

      What Farcebook proposes to do is a throwback to the bad old days of the Web -- media content which plays automatically when the page loads, something I was taught was a big, fat no-no back when I was first learning to design for the Web.

      As it is, I use Facebook sparingly; bullshit like this will pretty much guarantee that I'll use it even less, if not at all.

      1. Erroneous Howard

        Re: Good luck with that

        It reminds me somewhat of sites which used to blare out a terrible midi version of a file the second you hit the page. Generally the moment that crap started playing, the back button got struck hard.

  5. Number6

    Lost Audience

    All those people who suddenly find that it's not a good idea to browse Facebook at work due to the really noticeable bandwidth and possibly noise. That's a lot of audience to lose.

    1. The BigYin

      Re: Lost Audience

      Simple answer: block FB at work, except for those who need it for business purposes (i.e. marketing and PR).

      Same for Twitter, Flickr and all the rest.

      But not El Reg, that would be inhuman.

      1. Stacy

        Re: Lost Audience

        We have no blocks at work, people who take it too far are talked to.

        It doesn't happen very often.

        Treat employees with respect and let them act like grown ups and quite often they do :)

        From the stories I hear from family and friends though this does not seem to be the way of UK employers...

  6. Neil Alexander
    Thumb Down

    I could "almost" cope with this on my computer, but on my phone? No thanks. The last thing I need is my data allowance going towards video advertising when browsing on 3G.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Plus if you have a lousy connection then it's pretty much going to hang the browser or FB app.... so you'll stop using it completely

  7. nuked

    +1 for this being the end of fb

    1. Ole Juul

      +1 for this being the end of fb

      and the beginning of something else.

  8. Someone Else Silver badge


    You're still using Faceplant Facebook why?

    1. Barry Rueger

      Re: Really...

      I'll bite. Because nothing has been able to replace it. I have a LARGE group of family and friends (in other words, non-nerds) who use the thing constantly, and it's the primary means of keeping in touch with them.

      A couple have also set up G+ accounts, a handful are on Twitter, but Facebook is still the place. It's where EVERYBODY is, so it's where EVERYBODY will stay.

      Yattering at them won't get them to move. Unless they start leaving en masse, forcing others to follow, that's where they'll be for the foreseeable future. And dumb as Facebook is, they've thus far managed to keep everyone in place while allowing a steady creeping but fundamental shift in the way that things work.

  9. Big O

    Cool! Remember how awesome it was going to someone's Myspace profile to have a song autoplay? Good times..

  10. 404


    Between bandwidth usage and irritation value, no.

    Good Day.

  11. Captain DaFt

    When the revolution comes...

    Ever get the feeling it'll be the ad marketers first up against the wall?

    Pesty lawyers'll just have to wait their turn. (Let'em sue the politicians for allowing the revolution while they wait. It'll keep both groups so occupied that they won't try to hide.)

  12. Joseph Haig


    I sometimes wonder what Facebook is up to. Are they actively trying to turn away their users or is there an internal competition to see who can come up with the most ridiculous idea that the users will swallow?

    "Next, lets require that users enter three valid bank card numbers before they can post anything. Then we can replace their passwords with a concatination of the security codes."

    Erm, if that becomes reality remember that you saw it here first.

    1. Robin Weston

      Re: Eh?

      I'll wager that they still get granted a patent for the idea in spite of your prior art....

  13. Jim Coleman

    One up for Windows Phone

    Bearing in mind Windows Phone has Facebook functionality baked into the operating system, and thusly there's no need for the FB app, it looks like its users will be able to skip this video add malarky.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: One up for Windows Phone

      Yeah, you keep thinking that.

    2. Captain Underpants

      Re: One up for Windows Phone

      Yeah, because it's not like those functions could be updated, or FB could put a block in place whereby accessing the service with a client that doesn't support the video ads just shows you a big frowny face and a "You need update your Facebook client" message.

      I've got an Xperia Mini Pro with FB "baked into the OS" (which I dont use) and I still see updates for it.

  14. Steve Crook

    Easy come, easy go.

    Either there's a massive contempt for Facebook users or it's incredible stupidity. I do wonder what this tells us about the FB bottom line and the prospects for the share price. Still, Zuckerberg has made his billions and can afford to tank the company if he wants to. Good luck to him I say, and I wish him and his engorged bank account every happiness.

  15. toadwarrior

    Lots of sites are doing video ads. I wouldn't be surprised if FB will. They don't have anything of substaintial value so they need to push ads on users and you can already seen a definite change in how they push ads since going public. It can only get worse.

  16. Anonymous Coward

    How fucking stupid can people get?

    The reason why a lot of the TV stations in Australia have their audiences saying, "Ahem.... Change TV station? How about we change MEDIUM - to online add free content?" and people who say, "Oooooo I have not watched TV for 3 years now...."

    Never mind the generally fucking moronic content..... the "5 minutes movie, 5 minutes add, 5 minutes movie, 5 minutes add" routine has been a totally unacceptable "wasting of my time" bullshit trip for a long time.

    And now.....

    "According to a report by Ad Age, Zuck & Co are so hell-bent on pulling in big bucks from TV admen"


    I log in my Face Bum account perhaps ONCE every 3 months... but when I do, I get all these "Fucking Bullshit" emails, "So glad your back (fake system generated hugs and kisses)", and "You have millions of friends on Facebook - log back in and find them all now (fake system generated hugs and kisses)"......

    And lots and lots of the bullshit chummy email adds....

    Face Bum bullshit privacy settings that have the mentally defective accumen, that only a desperate drunken crack whore would pull....

    Now shoving compulsory adds in your faces.......


    Greed and Stupidity, Greed and Stupidity......

    An awful lot of super rich people are arseholes, and many of them get to the point that even they cannot stand living with themselves....

    And the eulogy will start off with, "Mark said of the Facebook users, "And they trust me with their data? The dumb fucks"."

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Animated and video ads?

    That was the main reason I installed Adblock.

    The Marketing Morons still haven't learned. They still foul it up for just about everyone, don't they?

    1. Ed_UK

      Re: Animated and video ads?

      Just wondering, in the specific demographic of El Reg readers, is there ANYONE who has EVER paid for some product or service based on seeing some pop-up or video ad on a web-site?

      I keep thinking of one of the characters on the Onion's "Sony's Useless Pice of Shit" parody, who can't resist buying anything he sees advertised.

  18. Idocrase

    Cool, another set to add to my ad block list.

    Ad Blocker for Android, and AdBlock Plus for Mozilla, my best friends since forever now.

    1. The BigYin

      It would be nice to whitelist non-annoying ads on some sites; but I went for the nuclear option:

      dnsmasq and an ad blocking config; kill the wee fuckers network wide.

      Actually, I wonder if blocking ads means I'm breaching copyright? A bit like how the ad skippers in pVRs were done over.

      Pretty soon sites will test for the actual presence of their ads before they show content; I've seen this already. Can't blame the sites trying to protect revenue, but rather than engage in an arms race; wy not just use nice, static ads that aren't migraine inducing?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "rather than engage in an arms race; wy not just use nice, static ads that aren't migraine inducing?"

        Because the guys paying the web sites to make content (ie, advertisers) don't want nice, static ads that aren't migraine inducing.

        Like it or not, the obnoxious crap gets results - these people may be jerks, but they're not idiots. Just because Reg readers turn on adblock when they see an interstitial doesn't mean everyone else does too - a fact which is, bizarrely, usually lost on Reg readers.

  19. Gil Grissum

    EPIC FAIL!!!

    I already don't use Facebook mobile on my phone. Just FB Chat. I rarely use FB on my iPad, but once these ads start playing, I won't be using it there. Chrome is already setup with an ad blocker and Flash blocker, so I never see FB ads in my timeline and no flash videos play by default. FB will liken this to TV ads, but again, data capped customers will be the ones to be in arms about this more than any others, and FB will find many many people using it less and less on mobes and blocking these ads on desktop platforms. I spend more time on Google+ and have more friends there anyway.

  20. The Alpha Klutz

    ads will only be shown to a company's fans

    lol so all those idiots who went around liking McDonald's and Starbucks are now gunna be getting obnoxious videos to watch.... sounds good.

    i hope they really botch this and piss everyone off.

  21. Richard Ball

    not today

    Some days I assume that one day I will join FB.

    With this and the Instagram thing, this is not one of those days.

  22. Steve Brooks

    I have my own ad-block, its a little red cross in the corner. I go to a news website, it has a link to an interesting video, click on link, ad comes up, close webpage, look for same video on youtube or similar, simple. The reason I do this, and will still put up with the ads on youtube is at least youtube will play the content.

    The BBC news website is a case in point, about 80% of the time the video won't play, it either just sits there with a black screen, or a message comes up to tell me this content has been removed or is not available in my location, but the FRIKIN ads always play, so I have to watch the ad to find out I can't watch the interesting video, lol at that, failed once to often and now I just shut it down when an ad comes up.

  23. Anonymous Coward

    Hey, Reg editors - can we have a feature that will, say, reject any post containing the form *book or face*? It has lately come to my attention that certain Reg readers have erroneously come to the conclusion that they are, as pop parlance puts it, funny. This misbegotten boost in confidence has resulted in a creative cacophony that rivals even insults to MicroSoft (M$, MacroHard, Micro$oft, Micro$ux, etc etc etc).

    To wit: faceplant, failbook, facefail, farcebook. I could go on, but I don't have to, since a significant and unfortunate percentage of those posting after I do will add their own knee-slappingly, guffaw-inducingly clever variants in order to convince the other commenters of their too-cool-for-schoolness.

    I, as an ardent intellectual capitalist, would normally prefer to let The Market sort things out, but in this case, as with safety features in automobiles and over-the-counter medicine, it's clear that a prime mover is needed to, shall we say, encourage 'industry'.

    If steps are not taken immediately, I plan on henceforth referring to The Register only as "The Failister", or "El Fail", or "Smells Reg" or ... well, you get the idea.

    1. Stephen 11
      Thumb Up

      I second your proposal

      El Fail... Has a nice ring to it!

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. Woodgar

      @David W.

      Absolutely. Couldn't agree more.

  24. Lallabalalla

    They are such greedy feckers

    I will never understand why somebody who has more money than they could ever spend in a lifetime wants to quadzillion their stash to infinity.

    It really is time somebody made a nice little site that could migrate all your posts and photos in from <wherever> and run a newsfeed-type thing, with enough (but no more) ads than necessary to maintain the site, pay everyone's wages and make the owners rich enough so they didn't have to do anything else if they didn't want to, but not so damn rich they look like Jabba The Hut.

    The people who run these things are never satisfied until they have taken over the whole damn world, they're like Bond villains. I'm no socialist but the likes of Zuckerberg et al really bring out the rabid lefty in me.

    1. Mike Flugennock

      Re: They are such greedy feckers

      ...It really is time somebody made a nice little site that could migrate all your posts and photos in from <wherever> and run a newsfeed-type thing...

      Well, there's blogs; those pretty much function the way you describe. You can make them fully public, or invitation-only, plus you don't have to deal with ads or greedy sociopaths like Mark Fuckerberg.

  25. The FunkeyGibbon

    Whatever next...?

    Zuk discovers <Blink> and <Marquee>? :-D

  26. cs94njw

    Fair does. Facebook has to make money somehow. Personally, I can't remember the last time I saw an advert on Facebook - I probably mentally block it out these days. And if I'm doing that, others probably are too, and click rates will be going down.

    I like Facebook, but I'm not sure I'd be willing to pay for it. Part of its appeal is that it's accessible to all.

    Who knows what is a workable solution where Facebook can make money, and is acceptable to the user.

  27. Morely the IT Guy

    This will do the job at last!

    One of two things will happen:

    1. There will be a massive exodus from Facebook. People who want streaming video ads are already watching Hulu, in the USA.

    2. There will be a trivial hosts file entry to block the Facebook streaming video ad server.

    Actually, both things may happen, but if the only people left on Facebook are techies, and ignorant sheep, the techies will leave, too.

  28. DJ Particle

    Apparently Facebook isn't learning...

    There's a reason people stopped using MySpace...

  29. Trevor_Pott Gold badge
    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Advertisements? In my social medias?

      Part ii and then part 3? I eagerly await parts four and e.

      1. Richard Ball

        Re: Advertisements? In my social medias?

        Surely e would come somewhere between ii and 3?

  30. Dan 55 Silver badge

    (@David W. 3:35, icon for me it seems.)

    I think most people understand that a telly is not a computer; adverts on a telly have to compete against each other in series in a limited time period, and the viewer going into the kitchen to make a cup of tea or the bathroom. They don't have to compete against the programme you're watching (content you're consuming) while this happens as it's paused. It makes a certain amount of sense to make them loud and garish.

    Meanwhile on the computer you are concentrating on the content so you don't want the adverts competing against that or other adverts on the same page as it just makes your task more difficult. You are often in a quiet environment so you don't want things autoplaying. You want discrete adverts that maybe you can even review or bookmark for later and come back to them after finishing what you're doing now.

    Something the ad men don't understand as they just see a screen and think it's the same as a telly.

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