Facebook’s Chris Cox on Publishers, Auto-Play Videos, Virtual Reality

Facebook chief product officer Chris Cox discussed several topics during the Code/Media conference, including the social network’s work with publishers, auto-play videos and the company’s virtual-reality plans.

ChrisCox650Facebook chief product officer Chris Cox discussed several topics during the Code/Media conference at The Ritz-Carlton in Laguna Niguel, Calif., Tuesday, including the social network’s work with publishers, auto-play videos and the company’s virtual-reality plans.

Cox told Re/code’s Peter Kafka that Facebook is in discussions with publishers to help establish a model under which content that would normally go on publishers’ own websites would appear on the social network, adding that potential partnerships with publishers will not be part of the near future, and that he doesn’t see Facebook as a threat to publishers’ existing Web properties. He told Kafka:

Reading news on a smartphone is still a very bad experience most of the time. We want to try and make that a better experience for publishers.

Cox called auto-play videos on Facebook a “massive success,” adding that he believes Facebook and YouTube can coexist. He told Kafka that when it comes to videos, Facebook is a “window” that users peek into throughout the day, while YouTube is more of a library where users go to seek out video content.

Facebook has no immediate plans to pay video creators for content that would be exclusive to the social network with Cox saying that Facebook’s current role is to drive awareness.

Facebook acquired virtual-reality-technology company Oculus VR last July, and while Cox did not specifically mention Oculus, he had quite a bit to say on the subject:

I mean, virtual reality is pretty cool. We’re working on apps for VR. Have you used some of the film demos inside of VR?

You realize, when you’re in it, that you’re looking at the future, and it’s going to be awesome. When you’re in Facebook, you’re just sending around these bits of experience — a photo, a video, a thought, (whereas with VR, you could be) sending a fuller picture.

When Kafka asked if the long-term vision includes giving users the ability to create virtual-reality content, Cox replied:

Totally. You’ll do it. Beyoncé will do it.

Readers: What did you think of Cox’s comments from Code/Media?