back to article Facebook to BLAST the web with AUTO-PLAYING VIDEO ads

Facebook has debuted automatically playing video adverts on the free content ad network. Sound will only be activated on the vid ads if a user clicks or taps on them, the company said in a blog post. But they can't be switched off, either. "The video ads will begin to play as you scroll through News Feed, but if you don't …


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  1. Ben Tasker Silver badge


    The tone of the title strikes me as a bit rich considering readers have been subjected to the Dynamics advert

    Just saying, is all

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "The tone of the title strikes me as a bit rich considering readers have been subjected to the Dynamics advert"

      What ads?

      I do mis some of the ads [not], but the amount and intrusiveness of the MS ads here prompted me to action.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Thank god I got rid of my Facebook account.

      1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge

        And a lovely response by today

        (contains swearing at the end, just FYI).

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Thank you Facebook

    For wasting my already saturated bandwidth with unwanted video streaming crap I didn't ask for, nor need.

    Suppose a setting to turn that irritation off is too much to ask for?

    1. AMB-York Silver badge

      Re: Thank you Facebook

      Surely the timewasters are those using Facebook?

    2. GBE

      Re: Thank you Facebook

      > Suppose a setting to turn that irritation off is too much to ask for?

      Yes it is.

      You are _not_ Zuck's customer. The people paying for the ad's are the cusotmer. You are the product being sold. Nobody give's a sh*t about the product's opinion.

      If you want to stop wasting time, give up Facebook.

      1. jonathanb Silver badge

        Re: Thank you Facebook

        Yes they do, because if the product being sold disappears, like what happened with My Space and Friends Reunited, then they don't have a business.

        1. mhoulden

          Re: Thank you Facebook

          I'm sure the advertising and marketing companies would like people to believe that they're all powerful and the people they advertise at are the product, but this isn't strictly true. For a start, advertising costs money. Places like Doubleclick or Facebook generally charge one fee to display the advert in the first place, and then another for the number of interactions or "conversions", which might be views ,replies, likes, retweets, favourites or clicks. They get charged even if the reply is "Get this claptrap off my timeline. I'm never going to buy it and I'll tell all my friends not to bother as well".

          The money to pay for advertising comes from the companies being advertised, and ultimately from the pockets of the people (or products) being advertised to. You can analyse, data mine, aggregate and intrude until you're blue in the face, but if the "product" doesn't buy what you're trying to sell them, the subject of the advert generally doesn't stay on the market for very long. If a platform relies on advertising for most of its funding, it can have serious problems if the advertisers decide to withdraw. ITV found this a few years ago when advertising budgets were massively cut during the 2008-9 recession and a lot of their income disappeared.

    3. Inventor of the Marmite Laser

      Re: Thank you Facebook

      Yes. Easy to avoid. Close Faecebook account and don't bother going there again - like most sane people.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    God... More crap to scroll through. As for not eating into my data allowance they're assuming my WiFi connection is to an unlimited ADSL or cable connection and not to a service of any kind that has data usage limits or costs.

  4. Anonymous Custard Silver badge

    Yummy, flash cache

    Facebook was keen to point out that its latest ads would not eat into a user's personal data plans because it would have been downloaded in advance when their device was connected to a wireless network.

    So it's eating up the storage space on my device instead to locally cache them? Wonderful...

    Plus of course it'll by nature have to download every damn advert that it might be possible to see, which presumably if they have their way won't be a small number.

  5. Geoff332


    You seem to have made a mistake in the first sentence.

    You wrote: "the free content ad network"; it should read "the content-free ad network".

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Facebook ?

    What's that ?

  7. weevil

    This is what adblocker is for.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      This is going to be via the app. Can you make Adblocker work with a third party app?

      And even if you have your phone jailbroken/custom ROM installed and have an app to block downloads from certain servers, it will no doubt appear as the same server used to download status information from.

      1. chr0m4t1c

        It'll be by browser and app.

        Adblocker for browser and with any luck it will be possible to blacklist a URL on my router to prevent it on the app.

        Alternatively, report every advert as ether sexually explicit or spam. Or leave Facebook.

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "... it will be possible to blacklist a URL on my router to prevent it on the app."

          If the url serving the advert is also, how do you block the address without blocking the site? If they know we will try and block it, they will make sure it doesn't look any different to people's own pictures and videos.

  8. ukgnome

    OK - I totally understand the gripes, but lets not forget that you don't pay to use facebook. Do you think that servers and developers are free.

    1. stizzleswick

      No I don't think servers etc. are free. But I don't use facebook either, so... *shrug*

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "but lets not forget that you don't pay to use facebook"

      Yes you do, it might not be cash, but the price is high.

    3. Inventor of the Marmite Laser

      You don't "Use" Faecebook

      You are the commodity. Advertisers are the ones 'using' Faecebook

  9. MJI Silver badge

    Time to edit HOSTS

    Just need to find the URL to block for this.

    My wife will moan if FB goes back in HOSTS.

    1. MrDamage

      Re: Time to edit HOSTS

      Then tell her to spend more time on your face, rather than Zuck's. It will give her a real reason to moan that will also curl her toes and put a smile on her face.

    2. csumpi
      Paris Hilton

      Re: Time to edit HOSTS

      "My wife will moan if FB goes back in HOSTS."

      Sure, but it might also have its benefits. Like you might start seeing home cooked dinners. Or she might sit down with your kids to do homework. Heck, maybe even you'll get lucky again.

      Paris, because she knows a thing or two about getting lucky.

  10. zanshin

    I'll never see these on my PC, or if I do, it'll be a brief situation.

    I'll likely just use my mobile client less. It's getting to the point that I use its updates notifications to go look at FB on my PC, heh.

  11. Bottle_Cap

    Adblock will stop it playing on a PC but if it's cached it will surely still take up space on a phone? Beginning of the end for wasteofspacebook? Time to create a lot of fake profiles then...

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And now the real value of social media is showing...

    This was inevitable, and the way things go right now I foresee more crap to come, and not only on Facebook.

    Thing is; it's nice how the powers behind such networks are trying to monetize their environment by putting the company onto the stock exchange, but in the end it still needs the capability of generating an annual revenue. And considering how participation on such networks is basically free they have no other choice but to come up with other ways to make money.

    As said I think this is only the first step. And not only on Facebook either.

    But then the real value will show. Because there is always the risk of ticking off your user base, and if you drive them over the edge then chances become high that they'll bail out and jump ship. And if that happens you can kiss your revenue goodbye. Of course while the demand for such revenue (think about the stock holders) does not go away. Which could lead up to the classic beginning of the end.

    And people wonder why I never bothered to buy into social media ;-)

  13. ammabamma

    What the dilly dallying f@#$k is this? I don't even...

    Are Facebook trying to raise awareness of ABP et al. with their users? I cannot imagine a more effective way to send the grumpy hordes scurrying to the tranquility of ad-less browsing.

    I understand Facebook wants money for their services, but this seems... excessively intrusive.

    Reminds me of Leiah's little speech in ANH:

    "The more you tighten your grip, Tarkin, the more star systems will slip through your fingers."

  14. Tom 35

    But they can't be switched off, either.

    I expect any of the ad blockers, or "click to play" plugins will be able to switch it off.

    I removed the android app quite some time ago.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: But they can't be switched off, either.


      I removed the android app quite some time ago.

      Great. I wish I could do that with my other halfs Android phone. You can't even stop the effing thing. If you kill it it springs back into life right away. After trying to 'fix' my old HTC phone by loading and alternative build of android and bricking the thing I am loathe to try again on hers.

      Still it will be solved come the 25th hence the anon just in case she reads this.

      1. VinceH

        Re: But they can't be switched off, either.

        "Still it will be solved come the 25th hence the anon just in case she reads this."

        Is that when you're going to present her with the divorce papers?

      2. Inventor of the Marmite Laser

        Re: But they can't be switched off, either.

        Root the phone and rip it out.

    2. Wize

      Re: But they can't be switched off, either.

      Now is the time to promote your own Facebook app.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I approve

    It's a great thing. It'll increase bandwidth required, admins will have to block it, therefore reducing that ability for "everyone" to use it all the time. Over time it'll become less prevalent because some won't bother anymore and just send an email instead.

    It won't kill it but at least it'll inflict small wounds that will bleed.

    I had a favourite site once that despite adblock, still ran a video unseen (advert for a related site) so I'd got hassled at work because of the constant video stream. Result? Not used it since.

    Adblock is the single best thing on the internet. One day I even intend donating to it :) And fuck those losers that compain about it, like that thing the other day.

    1. John Lilburne

      Re: I approve

      Problem with adblock is that it comes pre-configured to allow a whole load of Google related ads through as exceptions. You need to take that bundle and add them to the things I don't effing well want list. After which you can enjoy a Google free internet.

      1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

        Re: allow a whole load of Google related ads through as exceptions

        That depends on what list you use.

        I see no Google ads, nor any other ads.

        1. Anonymous C0ward

          Re: allow a whole load of Google related ads through as exceptions

          Then untick the box, and have a look through the additional filter lists on ABP's website.

  16. Captain Scarlet Silver badge

    Time to disconnect the smartphone from wifi then

    Don't feel like being blasted with some video the once or twice a week I check Facebook (Other Social Networks are available).

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    9 years...

    ...and still facebook free....bitch.

  18. dssf

    Been off Fb about 2+ weeks now

    I intend to stay off two - 3 weeks at a time, checking only one day or two to allow REAL friends to have a window of oppty to reach me, and then I'll duck out for another 2-3 weeks.

    I have saved SHITLOADS of time jsut avoiding fb. I not only not checked on posts, but I've logged OFF on my two normally-logged-in devices. This should, to some extent, deprive fb of getting tributary site/partner site feeds/stream info from me, unless those sites pass on the info based on my browsers' fingerprints.

    I intend on my next log in to warn my friends to contact me via e-mail if something is important, that I won't be on fb for 2-3 weeks at a stretch.

    As for birthdays, I'll just post "Happy Belated Birthday/Happy Birthday In Advance" to all my friends and let them know it's exasperating customizing HBD messages and not getting responses around half the time, or if I get a response, it's 3 weeks later, when I may wonder whether they're busy, ignoring me, or doing what I'm about to do -- stay off fb 3 weeks at a time -- even tho it now is hard to (without getting some dodgy apps) know who's looking at my profile.

    So, fb sends me messages saying "You have X number of messages, X number of invites, X number of pokes..."

    SO WHAT?!

    But honestly, depriving fb of faux love meant in reality having more time to shifting time into other apps. But, since those other social apps have less "hook and bite", it's easier to get in and out of them with less addiction/withdrawal, and that means a net of recovered time.

    I'm not trying to DESTROY fb -- it does do some good, and I do sometimes contemplate using them to get messages across if I have products to sell someday. But, I'm also tired of the rat's race feeling and the "constantly watched and bartered-away" feeling.

    If they don't like it, then they can change their business model. It's NOT my duty to exits for THEIR survival. Well, not unless they dramatically enhance MY survival by using some of their billions to help create a pool of start-up helpers that can supplant the likes of indiegogo and others that play super-selectivity (PC/exclusivity) games on their front pages.

  19. dssf

    What so far has not been commented on: battery consumption

    What so far has not been commented on: battery consumption...

    The biggest thing that comes to mind after privacy and bandwidth (and possible noises or visual annoying or embarrassment) issues is the battery consumption issue for some.

    Forcing the play of and caching of ad content means adding two more events that consume the battery of users. In the USA, I virtually NEVER see phone users swap out batteries. After all, iPhones and some Samsung batteries are non-user-replacable items. But, in Korea, I saw many people (usually in coffee shops and on trains) swapping batteries. The thing that sucks is that some of these ads -- if FB and others deem them crucial to ramping up their revenues -- will become prevalent enough that some users -- depending on the sites they frequent -- will be bombarded by streaming (wi-fi or cell site) vids and audio files.

    I wonder how many people will pay attention to their battery depletion rates. Battery depletion incurred by download and by play.

    Another issue is the fact that these files are being forced in by fb and other sites. Why do our permissions for these apps allow them to force onto our storage space files WE did not invoke/command to be downloaded? Will they come in with self-expirey flags, and, if so, will they enable cross-infection of other files by malicious apps posing as legit/related content-senders' content deletion?

    Will AV companies enable us to identify and wipe IMMEDIATELY conent that downloaded which we did not say "save..." to? Will that raise the stakes in the "battle for eyes and minds" and give rise to miscreants to devise software to simulate download commands by users who are face with "download/do not download" buttons on screen? After all, we've read about affirm/decline buttons both being wired with "do-it-any-fucking-way" code, with the user reading and thinking s/he hit "decline" and that "decline" was honored.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The amusing thing about the FB 'sponsored content' ads is that the comments are almost invariable jammed with people

    1) Mocking the ad for being foolish

    2) Attacking the company for its business practices

    3) Pointing out superior competitors to the company

    4) Screaming, "WHY IS THIS IN MY NEWS FEED REMOVE ME NOW" over and over

    I can't imagine that any of those things do the businesses involved much good...

  21. Anonymous Coward


    Facebook was keen to point out that its latest ads would not eat into a user's personal data plans because it would have been downloaded in advance when their device was connected to a wireless network.

    Of course, because wifi networks don't have fixed quotas or charge per megabyte!

    Maybe not in Mark's universe, in this one the wifi network gets its Internet service via 3G, Fibre, ADSL, Cable or some other back-haul link that's often provided with a fixed quota.

  22. Andrew Jones 2

    So.... the Facebook app is planning to run in the background downloading videos to cache.... I wasn't planning on rooting my Nexus 4 - but I guess Greenify will put a stop to Facebook's plans for my device.

  23. _DD_

    Guy says to Doctor: "Doc it hurts when I move my arm like this"

    Doctor says: "Don't move your arm like that"

    Translation for those who don't get the analogy: If you don't like the adverts on Facebook, don't use it!

  24. getHandle

    Nailed it

  25. TheNix
    Black Helicopters

    "We'll determine future uses based on what we learn from this tear"

    "Tear" as in the fabric of space-time? Or "tear" as in 'on the face of God'?

    Granted, it's probably a typo, but I hope not: either would be enormously revelatory about the sophistication of Facebook's analytical techniques.

  26. The_H

    I shall look forward to this. Every advert I see will get a status update - I've a fair few FB friends - saying how crap the product is.

    A bit like since I linked my YouTube account to my forced-upon-me Google+ account; every comment I now make has my home-made "Google+ Sucks" icon next to it.

    It's the little things that keep me happy.

  27. RAMChYLD

    Okay, looks like I need a way to control which sites my browser can use flash in...

    Seriously, this will kill my mobile broadband faster than Youtube. Do these zuckers even consider for those who're stuck on low-quota mobile broadband?

  28. NB

    *shrugs* Adblock Plus works in firefox on my desktop and my phone.

    Fuck you Zuck. Fuck. You.

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