The one thing you hate the most about your Facebook News Feed is now making its way to Twitter. You guessed it, autoplay videos and GIFs are about to conquer your timeline.
The autoplay craze, or "autoplague," as I've started calling it, has become an increasing trend on social networks to make video consumption quicker and boost advertising revenue.
Facebook and Instagram both have autoplay video functions with "tap-for-sound" capability, so at least you aren't bombarded with audio every time you check your feed. Twitter will let users disable the autoplay function, though, so at least it's not a permanent plague if you don't want it to be.
Advertisement revenue plays a pivotal role in the gradual shift to autoplay videos. Market research firm eMarketer estimates video ad spending will go up from $7.8 billion to nearly $15 billion by 2019.
For Twitter and its advertisers, the social network won't consider that a video has been "viewed" unless it's "100% in-view on the user's device" for 3 seconds or more.
Twitter maintains the new format will drive user interest and engagement up, and it's true that we are more likely to watch an advertisement if what is already playing captures our attention from the start.
Unfortunately, it means that our Twitter timelines are about to (somehow) get even more cramped and annoying. The autoplay rollout begins today on the web and iOS app, with Android not too far behind, so enjoy your freerange video consumption while you can, Android users.