Facebook Announces Limited Test Of New Way For Mobile Users To View Videos

By David Cohen 

A “small group of U.S. mobile users” will test a new way for Facebook to deliver videos to their devices, the social network announced Thursday, emphasizing that it is a limited test, and that advertising is not included.

Only videos posted by individual users and by musicians and bands with verified pages will be included in the test, while ads of any kind, including sponsored stories, will not be a part of it.

Still, results and user feedback from this test may move Facebook one step closer to its long-rumored launch of video ads.

Facebook said videos will play silently within the News Feed, and if users choose to view them, they can click on the videos to expand them and enable sound. Upon completion of the videos, users will be brought back to their News Feeds.

Only videos uploaded directly to Facebook — such as those uploaded via Instagram and other applications that upload directly to the social network — can be played in-line, while video links from sources such as YouTube and Vimeo cannot be viewed in-line.

Facebook said in its announcement about the test:

Today we’re starting to test an easier way to watch videos on Facebook. Now when you see a video in News Feed, it comes to life and starts playing. Videos initially play silently, and if you want, you can tap to play with sound in full-screen. Scroll past if you don’t want to watch.

People will see this in the coming weeks on mobile.

At first, this feature will be limited to videos posted by individuals, musicians, and bands. We’re doing this to make sure we create the best possible experience. Over time, we’ll continue to explore how to bring this to marketers in the future.

This is starting with a limited test and will continue to roll out over time.

Readers: Do you think Facebook should roll this feature out more widely if there are no issues?