Facebook shakes up video features and launches new TV app

Social media giant Facebook has announced it is introducing a raft of new video functions, including automatic sound on videos which were previously muted in users’ News Feeds.


Coinciding with the video sound update is the launch of Facebook’s video app for TV which will roll out in app stores for Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV and Samsung Smart TV.

In a statement on its corporate website, Facebook said the app was an extension of last year’s move to enable users to stream videos from the social media site to their TVs.

“With the app, you can watch videos shared by friends or Pages you follow, top live videos from around the world, and recommend videos based on your interests. You can also catch up on videos you’ve saved to watch later, as well as revisit videos you’ve watched, shared or uploaded,” the statement said.

Last year the digital industry was rocked by an admission by Facebook that it had vastly overestimated its video views, with figures based on people watching as little as three seconds of a stream. After a subsequent change in the way the streaming numbers were reported, it appeared Facebook’s streaming numbers had plummeted 94%, but in today’s announcement, the company remained bullish on its video capabilities and audience penetration.

“People are watching and sharing more video on Facebook than ever, and we’re focused on continuously improving the video experience. Today, we’re excited to share several updates that make watching video on Facebook richer, more engaging and more flexible,” the statement said.

The updates also include a change in the default settings for sound on videos in Facebook News Feeds. Previously, videos shared on the social media site and in the app began automatically playing silently. Facebook, however, said “people have come to expect sound” when the video starts automatically playing.

“After testing sound-on in News Feed and hearing positive feedback, we’re slowly bringing it to more people,” the statement said. “With this update, sound fades in and out as you scroll through videos in News Feed, bringing those videos to life.”

Facebook noted if users’ devices are on silent, it will not play the video with sound.

In addition, the social media brand announced it was making changes to ensure vertical videos look better on mobile devices.

“Last year we began testing a larger preview of vertical videos in News Feed on mobile. People responded positively, so that larger format is now available to everyone watching videos on iOS and Android,” the statement said.

Further changes include a new ‘watch and scroll’ feature which will enable users to continue to watch as video as the scroll through their News Feed.


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