Facebook is always tweaking its algorithms and tinkering with features. At some point, engineers must have decided that people love Facebook videos so much, they should be able to keep them on screen as they scroll through their News Feed. Enter Facebook’s floating video player, a feature for which there was no evident demand but which the company built anyway.
Facebook videos have had a tumultuous history since they arrived in News Feeds, thanks in large part to the company’s decision to let them auto-play. This led to the somewhat distorted perception that people actually enjoyed watching videos on Facebook—and helped company rack up enough views to call itself a legitimate YouTube competitor.
In reality, videos are the bane of Facebook users’ existence, and now autoplay videos are spreading to other social networks as well.
But perhaps you’re one of the few people who genuinely enjoys watching videos on Facebook. Perhaps your primary complaint is not that the videos start up as you scroll by, but that you have to stop scrolling to watch them. To fix that problem, the social network has begun rolling out a pop-out button on the video player, which lets you take the video with you as you scroll.
Clicking the button, which looks like a screen within a screen, pops out the video from its housing in the News Feed and gives it its own movable window. Now you can watch whatever it is people watch on Facebook—Cat videos? Re-uploaded videos ripped from YouTube?—while you read your friends’ status updates.
The video box won’t stick with you if you leave whatever Facebook page you were on when you popped it out, so don’t go clicking off to someone’s profile until you’re done watching.