Facebook’s autoplay feature is killing people’s phone bills

I know that many of us do happen to be rocking to a generous data plan with our smartphones and tablets these days, but it always pays to err on the side of caution, does it not? Case in point, there are some customers who have just jumped aboard the smartphone bandwagon and are not quite familiar with the nuances of the device, where they then rely on their data plan to watch online videos, all the while unbeknownst to them that their carrier charges them insane prices per MB after passing a particular data limit. This could result in a bill shock experience at the end of the month, so it is always best to avoid video on your smartphone whenever possible unless connected to a Wi-Fi network, and do make sure that the “autoplay” setting on Facebook videos is also turned off.

Whether it’s the ice bucket challenge or dancing pet cats, Facebook newsfeeds are now flooded with videos. Unless you’ve changed your default settings, all of these videos will begin to play automatically, both on Wi-Fi and on 3G and 4G connections. Now, new research has found that some Facebook mobile users are experiencing higher than usual bills as a result of the autoplay video function. During testing by MoneySavingExpert.com, videos appeared to autoplay via the app only. The money advice site claims it has received a number of complaints from people who have been stung with data bills after exceeding their monthly allowance. They suggest that this is due to Facebook autoplaying videos and has advised people to change their settings now to either turn off the auto-play feature, or to set it so videos only auto-play on Wi-Fi. Facebook’s autoplay videos were first trialled in September 2013 – although the social network site would not confirm when the initiative was fully rolled out. ‘It’s worrying that Facebook is autoplaying videos by default, as it’s clearly catching users out, with some claiming they’ve unknowingly exceeded their data limit and incurred extra charges as a result,’ said MoneySavingExpert.com consumer and features editor Steve Nowottny. ‘Anyone who uses Facebook on their mobile or tablet when they’re out and about or using 3G or 4G should check their settings now – change your auto-play settings to off, or so that videos only play over wifi.’

By Rocco Penn

A tech blogger, social media analyst, and general promoter of all things positive in the world. "Bring it. I'm ready." Find me on Media Caffeine, Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *