Auto-play videos don’t have audio unless you tap them, which makes them less intrusive, and you can choose to disable them when away from WiFi networks. It is being tested on desktop, but will not be rolled out yet. Videos only auto-play if uploaded to Facebook, or from Twitter. Third party video will still require a tap to get started.
That audio only kicks in when you choose stops auto play from getting annoying, and having videos pre-loading makes watching them a little quicker.
Facebook has recently allowed videos to be embedded in ads, but they don¡t auto-play. If users are happy with auto-play videos, it’s likely they will be allowed in ads eventually too. Static image ads have not damaged user interaction with Facebook, despite the many complaints when they were introduced.
Facebook is working on ways to make us spend more time on the site as we reported last month. Auto play videos could encourage more of us to watch the video shared on Facebook, and also to upload our own. Currently video is underused on Facebook, so this could be seen as an attempt to jump start users into making greater use of video.