Along with a slew of other new features announced yesterday, Facebook says that videos in News Feed will soon play audio by default. The company also announced improvements to vertical videos, a new picture-in-picture mode for watching videos while scrolling, and a Facebook video app for TV.
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Audio playing for videos while scrolling through the News Feed by default will almost surely be the most contentious. Facebook says that it tested the feature and received a lot of positive feedback, but this is going to mean you’ll need to be a lot more careful when browsing in quiet places — especially on Android phones without a hardware mute switch:
Videos in News Feed have previously played silently — you tap on a video to hear sound. As people watch more video on phones, they’ve come to expect sound when the volume on their device is turned on. After testing sound on in News Feed and hearing positive feedback, we’re slowly bringing it to more people. With this update, sound fades in and out as you scroll through videos in News Feed, bringing those videos to life.
Thankfully, Facebook realizes that this isn’t a feature that everyone is going to want. If you’re not a fan of this feature — as I’m not — then you can disable it by switching off a new “Videos in News Feed Start With Sound” toggle in the Settings section within the app.
Beyond this, Facebook announced that it’s more widely rolling out a vertical video format that it has been testing for a while. That “larger preview of vertical videos” is now going to be rolling out to all iOS and Android users. In other video-in-News-Feed news, you’ll also now be able to shrink videos to a picture-in-picture view that lets you keep watching while you scroll.
Finally, Facebook says that it’s rolling out a new video app to various TV platforms: Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV and Samsung Smart TV. This “new way to enjoy Facebook videos on a bigger screen” is basically a standalone app for watching videos from your friends and Pages, as wel as recommended videos and top videos on Facebook from around the world.