- Fans call out Madonna for edited Eurovision video Tuesday 9:36 PM
- Partnered Twitch streamer temporarily banned for airing troll’s racist message Tuesday 8:45 PM
- Reddit theory says fans are wrong about who won ‘Game of Thrones’ Tuesday 6:52 PM
- Elon Musk hires ‘absolute unit’ sheep meme creator to be Tesla’s social media manager Tuesday 6:12 PM
- Jason Momoa stands by his Khaleesi after the ‘Game of Thrones’ finale Tuesday 4:05 PM
- Airbnb, 23andMe partner for creepy heritage travel recommendations Tuesday 3:26 PM
- Rep. Katie Porter goes viral again for trouncing Ben Carson (updated) Tuesday 3:26 PM
- This deepfake takes Bill Hader’s Schwarzenegger impression to the next level Tuesday 2:58 PM
- Wanda Sykes rails against Trump and offers much-needed perspective in ‘Not Normal’ Tuesday 2:41 PM
- Man arrested after allegedly threatening to shoot YouTube employees Tuesday 2:13 PM
- Some House Dems are backing away from the Save the Internet Act Tuesday 1:40 PM
- Thousands sign petition calling for Danny DeVito to play Wolverine Tuesday 1:02 PM
- Jason Mitchell fired from ‘Desperados’ and ‘The Chi’ after misconduct allegations Tuesday 12:36 PM
- Police raid Black woman’s house after white neighbor complains about loud Malcolm X speeches Tuesday 12:20 PM
- ‘Transfixed’ says it’s a ‘breakthrough’ series, but it still fetishizes trans bodies Tuesday 11:04 AM
Facebook Messenger will now autoplay ads in the app (updated)
Kārlis Dambrāns/Flickr (CC-BY)
“Man, this messaging app is great, but I sure do wish it had autoplaying ads to completely interrupt my experience,” said no one ever. And yet, here we are: Facebook Messenger reportedly began introducing autoplay video ads this week.
Ads aren’t actually new to the Messenger experience. Facebook first began introducing ads into the app early last year. TechCrunch’s stance was that they “are bad and must be destroyed” because of their large size, intrusive nature, and the disruption they cause to the general Messenger experience.
Unluckily, we must have done a good job of ignoring these ads. According to Recode, Facebook Messenger is upping its ad game with the addition of autoplaying video ads.
The idea of autoplaying video ads in the middle of a private conversation sounds incredibly jarring. Luckily, Facebook clarified on Tuesday that these ads will not autoplay directly in conversations but rather in the home tab of the app.
Plus, if the roll out goes poorly, there’s a chance Messenger could roll back this new video advertising policy.
“Top priority for us is user experience,” Stefanos Loukakos, head of Messenger’s ad business, told Recode. “So we don’t know yet [if these will work]. However, signs until now, when we tested basic ads, didn’t show any changes with how people used the platform or how many messages they send.”
In other words, if users begin using Messenger less or sending fewer messages because of autoplaying ads, it’s feasible that Facebook could decide that this form of ad doesn’t work in the app and try something else.
If you don’t like the idea of autoplaying ads in your chat app, there are plenty of other apps to choose from, such as Apple’s Messages, WhatsApp (which is also owned by Facebook), and various secure messaging options.
Update 7:34pm CT, June 19: This article has been updated to clarify that Facebook Messenger autoplaying ads will be placed in the home tab of the app.
Christina Bonnington is a tech reporter who specializes in consumer gadgets, apps, and the trends shaping the technology industry. Her work has also appeared in Gizmodo, Wired, Refinery29, Slate, Bicycling, and Outside Magazine. She is based in the San Francisco Bay Area and has a background in electrical engineering.