Facebook unveils dedicated set top video app and brings sound to autoplay videos on the news feed

Facebook autoplay videos will no longer be silent as social network brings sound to the news feed

Facebook is looking to give users more "options" about how they consume content within its walls, unveiling a new dedicated video app for TV which will be rolled out on Apple TV, Amazon Fire devices and Samsung Smart TVs.

Announcing the news via a blog post, the social network's product manager Dana Sittler and engineering manager Alex Li said the app was a "new way to enjoy Facebook videos on a bigger screen."

The long-rumoured service will let users to watch videos shared by their friends, businesses or media outlets they follow as well as live-streams and trending content from around the globe.

As part of the video shakedown, Facebook is also tackling the thorny issue of silent auotplay on its mobile news feed. The feature has long been criticized by rivals like YouTube and Snapchat which have questioned its value to advertisers.

Facebook's autoplay videos will soon play with the sound on, meaning users flicking through their feed on a mobile device will be able to hear the noise from videos "fading in and out" as they flip past content.

If a user's phone is set to silent, videos will not play with sound, and according to Facebook and sound can be disabled altogether if Facebook users opt out of listening via their app settings.

In addition, Facebook has unveiled a number of other updates including one that will make vertical videos "look better" on mobile devices thanks to a new larger format and a "watch and scroll" function that will let people continue to scroll down the news feed while still watching a video in minimised view.

The changes come as rumours continue to swirl about Facebook's future as a media company. Earlier this month boss Mark Zuckerberg said its main priority was indeed video and hinted at a slow move toward longer form content, with a focus first of all on snackable videos.

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Rebecca Stewart

Rebecca Stewart is a reporter at The Drum. She primarily writes news, analysis and features around brand marketing and digital innovation. She has interviewed key figures from the likes of Airbnb, Amnesty International, Unilever, Facebook and Spotify, as well as covering international events like Ad Week Europe, Dmexco and Ciclope.

All by Rebecca