Facebook has unveiled new features for its video function that are designed to improve the experience of viewing and sharing content via the social network.
The web giant noted that people are sharing video content on the platform more than ever before and the new updates are intended to make offer a richer, more engaging and more flexible means of doing so.
First and foremost among these features is the addition of sound to autoplaying videos in the News Feed.
Videos have previously played silently, with the user having to tap on it to hear sound. However, given that more people are starting to watch this content via their smartphone, they are likely to expect sound to play when the sound on their device is switched on.
Therefore, Facebook has implemented this function in its latest update, after getting positive responses from it during testing. The sound will fade in and out as videos are scrolled through.
Those who find the feature annoying can simply keep their device on silent – or it will still be possible to stop videos from autoplaying altogether.
In a Facebook blogpost announcing the development, product manager Dana Sittler and engineering manager Alex Li explained: “If your phone is set to silent, videos will not play with sound.
“If you never want videos to play with sound, you can disable this feature by switching off 'Videos in News Feed Start With Sound' in Settings. We'll also be showing in-product messages to tell people about the new sound on experience and controls.”
Other changes include an effort to make vertical videos look better on smartphones by making a larger preview available in the News Feed.
Watch and Scroll will be added for those who want to watch a video while simultaneously continuing to scroll through their News Feed.
This makes it possible to minimise the video being watched for a picture-in-picture view that keeps playing in the corner of the screen while other News Feed content is browsed. The clip can be dragged to any corner of the screen – and Android users will even be able to keep the video playing when they exit the Facebook app to do something else on the phone.