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Facebook is testing autoplaying videos with the sound already on

Facebook’s silent movie era may be ending.

RB Leipzig v Holstein Kiel - Regionalliga North Photo by Joern Pollex/Bongarts/Getty Images

You know how Facebook shoves a ton of video in your feed and starts playing it automatically, but with the sound turned off?

That could be changing.

Facebook has begun testing autoplaying all of its videos — including ads and Facebook Live videos — with the sound automatically turned on. Users in the test can turn off the sound on individual videos or navigate their way to Facebook’s settings page and turn the sound off for all videos.

The tests, first reported by Mashable, are currently limited to some Australian Facebook users who access the social network on their phones.

Facebook confirmed the tests and offered this statement:

“We're running a small test in News Feed where people can choose whether they want to watch videos with sound on from the start. For people in this test who do not want sound to play, they can switch it off in Settings or directly on the video itself. This is one of several tests we're running as we work to improve the video experience for people on Facebook.”

If Facebook expands the test, it could signal a significant change in its video strategy, which has been fueled by silent, autoplaying videos.

Video producers and advertisers who’ve wanted to partake in Facebook’s video push have learned to make video specifically for the platform — stuff that can grab your attention immediately, and without sound.

Turning the sound on automatically — as many digital publishers, including CNN, ESPN and Bloomberg, already do on their own sites — would require video makers to rethink their current tactics.

The test also underscores the current tension underlying the larger digital video boom. Publishers are focused on growing their video views so they can take advantage of the video dollars advertisers want to spend — but that only works if viewers actually want to watch the videos publishers are showing them, and the ones advertisers want to show them.

Autoplaying videos are one way to solve that problem, if advertisers give publishers credit for videos that start on their own.

But none of this works if users won’t accept self-starting videos, which is why Facebook has been very careful about the way it has integrated them into its service. Turning up the volume is a big move.

This article originally appeared on Recode.net.

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