Facebookers beware: video ads are coming


Advertisers are constantly researching new ways to attract your attention and make money off of your eyeballs and ears. Android users have had their fair share of distasteful advertising practices in the past, with things like AirPush allowing developers to push advertisements outside of an app and into your notifications pane (though Google and others have done a solid job keeping much of this in check).

facebook ads meme

But whatever you do in the context of your own app is fair game, and ad publishers know this. That’s why Facebook isn’t hesitating to let us know about their plans to bring video advertisements to your timeline on both desktop and mobile.

How it’ll work

It’s simple, really — scroll through your timeline, and you might come across a sponsored video. This video will look like any video your friend would post, except it’s an advertisement designed to make Facebook (and their partners) loads and loads of money.

You’re probably wondering how big blue is planning to make this a non-obtrusive experience, especially for those of us on the mobile side of things. There are a couple of things they’ll be doing:

  • The video will automatically play, but the sound will be disabled by default. This allows you to scroll past the video and go along your friend stalking ways.
  • The video won’t load be downloaded and cached unless you’re on WiFi, so the ads can be viewed without using your mobile data connection even if the ad is loaded and played while on said connection.

The implementation of this was definitely the most important factor for Facebook to get right, especially in an age where mobile bits and bytes are being offered at outrageous premiums. That said, those who are flat-out against this form of advertisement — whether it be due to principal or some other reason — will be saddened to know that there will be no way to disable them. (That’s unless, you consider deactivating your Facebook account and uninstalling the app as an effective way of disabling them).

When is it coming?

As early as this week, according to Facebook. A small number of folks will notice the new implementation with a marketing campaign for the film Divergent starting this week. Facebook didn’t mention how long this trial period would last, but we imagine it won’t take long for it to roll out to the rest of you if things go smoothly in the trial.


This will be a touchy area for Facebook, though the company is no stranger to controversy. They navigated the waters with relative ease when they first decided to infuse Facebook with ads of any sort, and the well-documented privacy debacle with Instagram didn’t knock them off their pedestal.

Whether this new stunt will be enough for a mass exodus remains to be seen, but we somehow doubt it. And we doubt any amount of shouting is going to get Facebook to change their minds. If you believe otherwise, though, be our guest and let your voice be heard in the comments section below.

Quentyn Kennemer
The "Google Phone" sounded too awesome to pass up, so I bought a G1. The rest is history. And yes, I know my name isn't Wilson.

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  1. Firefox users (and chrome too maybe) make sure when this does come out to look for grease monkey scripts. I already have one that removes all the photo ads (adblock), but also one that removes stuff like, so-and so likes walmart, you should too

  2. adaway

  3. I find it annoying that people complain about ads in something they’re not paying for. Is Facebook getting their servers for free?

    1. Facebook is making bank with the photo ads. they don’t need to put in video ads to pay for their servers. they already make enough to pay for those. and besides, with all the free information people give to Facebook, they make more money than they need anyways

    2. I guess the juice coming out of the wall socket that you use to charge your phone is free for you but it’s not for me. So since they can’t seem to allow full shutdown of their app and all notifications are on by default … this is just kicking someone in the nuts after you’ve punched them in both ears.

      Also, if you think FB doesn’t make cash for your data outside of the ads you are forced to view then you are naive.

      So … you might not have to pay for a subscription but I’ll be damned if I accept the “you aren’t paying for it so what do you care?” argument.

      If it wasn’t for being rooted and using Greenify to force FB and other apps to hibernate … I’m quite sure I’d have just as crappy battery life with the N5 as I had with the S4.

    3. I also find it annoying that people complain about other people complaining about ads in a free service for which there are no paid options to get rid of them.

  4. the only people who even use Facebook is everyone

    1. I choose to use google plus…too bad no ones i know does tho

  5. So OBNOXIOUS how if I like a page that a friend shares that it then displays other pages I might like. Also the pages that FB thinks I will like that now show up in the newsfeed.

  6. If the ads become intrusive or slow my phone to a crawl, Facebook is getting deleted. I don’t really need it all that much and they should know better that bandwidth and performance are limited even on the best phones these days.

  7. Meh. I have a foolproof method for avoiding all advertisements on facebook…

    1. Don’t use it? Jk. I use Adblock Plus on my rooted Galaxy S3 and on my laptop. It’s supposed to block pretty much all ads but Fb’s be videos might not be blocked initially. The phone version of Adblock isn’t foolproof either.

      1. No joking. I have no use for facebook.

        1. I gave up on facebook two years ago. I got tired of so many people thinking that everyone else cared what they were doing all the time. note to everyone: your everyday life is NOT as important to everyone else as you think it is.

  8. I was mostly worried about automatically blaring audio or data plan type use, but they have addressd those 2 things, so to me….eh I’m using a free service that takes a ton of staff and servers, so…so be it. Why not do a paid account/free account for anyone hating on advertisement option? Pay to opt out of ads on all platforms or get the ads. I’d be find with that. I’m not some mega Facebook fan, though like most anyone I use it daily. I have my beef with some of the privacy junk they’ve quietly changed settings on in the past opening the flood gates when you had things locked down (though they’ve admittedly gotten better about that kind of thing), but as far as keeping a business running/profitable to so I can use it for free? I get it/accept it. I guess if people hate it, they could always make Google+ more used. As much Google kool-aid as I’ve drank, that one still hasn’t gone full blown Great Bluedini for me. It’s not used widely enough (despite the force fed YouTube integration that just creates feeds no one is watching anyway) and to be honest, the circles/what’s posted for who/how to lock it down etc. is not that intuitive for savvy people let alone those that aren’t. Buh.

  9. I would delete FB in a heart beat. I mean it’s good for checking in with friends and sharing pictures but I have other means of doing that..No one needs FB to survive

    1. Facebook, even with the 60 friends i have on the page, is annoying enough. These people are my friends, but seeing what they do from day to day, watch on TV, and are opinionated on is annoying as hell. Id love to delete it, but as others have said, everyone i know is on it.

  10. I wish more people would use Google+ The interface is nice and has no lag whatsoever. The only reason I keep Facebook is because everyone else is on it.

    1. What’s weird is that my G+ app is awful, it wont open a quarter of the time. Even if I clear data. Even when it opens it lags like crazy, so bad its not even close to usable. But when it works, its great!

      1. Upgrade from a toaster?

        1. I have an HTC one and nexus 7 2013. Does it on both

    2. I am in the same boat… I prefer Google+, but almost none of my peps use Google+. So i use Google+ to keep up with “news” i follow, for the communities that I enjoy and so on. Facebook is for my personal friends.

    3. I wouldn’t want everyone to use G+, because I wouldn’t want G+ to suck like Facebook does, which is eventually what would happen. Currently, G+ is like the Facebook for geeks, and that’s fine by me.

  11. So itll be like all the videos on Facebook, except it wont be from my friends, but not Ads ? Am i the only one that hates that videos on my timeline start playing automatically ? If i want to watch a video, ill click play. If not, then it should stay unplayed. I personally prefer G+ as well.

    1. Really? I’ve never seen a video start automatically, or heard of that happening.

      1. if you have a friend that has instagram linked to their facebook and they post a video, it preloads…

  12. I’m really hoping Adaway takes care of these pesky ads.

  13. so I am going to be getting spammed. with videos on my “measured” satellite connection the. same one that I will not even let the kids watch YouTube or other videos on because it pushes us over our limit….nice

  14. So facebook decides to jump the shark

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