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Twitter stuffing auto-playing video ads into timeline, but you can turn it off

Twitter has finally rolled out its first auto-playing videos feature, the company announced on Tuesday via its official blog post. The new feature has been rolled out primarily to drive the growth of its advertising platform, just like what Facebook did last year, and the results speak for themselves. It’ll be rolled out initially on the iOS and Twitter.com, while its Android version will be available soon.

With this new update, Native videos, GIFs, and Vines will start playback automatically, said the company on Tuesday. Videos will appear much bigger and will autoplay on mute on a user’s timeline, something remarkably similar to what we see on Instagram. Users will be allowed to retweet, favorite or comment on the video as usual.

“Starting today, videos will appear in a larger, more media-centric format in timelines. During the autoplay tests we ran, we saw people engaging with videos in this new format at a much higher rate, and our brand and publishing partners saw improved view rates. All of this resulted in lower cost-per-views for marketers and increased video recall by consumers,” said senior product manager David Regan.

Twitter autoplay videos

Though for obvious reasons, users have been pretty cynical about the new autoplay feature. The Twitterverse has been bloated with rather a skeptical reaction from users, as they believe it concerns advertisers more than users.

However, autoplay videos now aren’t really that annoying as they used to be in the past, if done in the right way. Facebook apparently found a way to counteract the situation, reportedly inspired by newspaper ads in Harry Porter movies. They introduced autoplay videos that come to life as and when a user scrolls on it and retreats to its original state the moment a user moves on. Most importantly, videos autoplay on mute unless and until a user specifically clicks or taps to turn the sound on. The same would be the case for Twitter. Hence the new autoplay feature really shouldn’t be that much of a concern and annoyance for users.

If users still find it disturbing, they will still be in charge as Twitter will allow users to manually turn off the feature via the settings menu.

“Remember, you have ultimate control through your settings. You can choose to revert to the previous click-to-play experience all the time or simply have videos autoplay only when you’re connected to Wi-Fi. If you’re somewhere with high data rates or you have low bandwidth on your device, we’ll opt you out of autoplay to avoid unexpected charges or slow performance; so you’ll continue to see videos as click-to-play,” Twitter explained in a blog post.

The move comes shortly after Twitter CEO Dick Costolo announced that he’ll be stepping down on July 1st, to be replaced by Jack Dorsey as interim CEO. Notably, this new feature has been rolled out in less than two months since the company announced its first quarter earnings, as the company failed to meet its revenue expectations and said it’ll be focusing more on advertisers to boost its revenue.

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