Many Twitter and Facebook users were outraged this week after being unwillingly exposed to footage of the murders of a TV reporter and a cameraman in Virginia. Due to recent changes on the social media sites, video clips of the killings automatically played in users' newsfeeds.
Facebook and Twitter have since been called upon to reevaluate the decision to use autoplay.
“Social media, just like traditional media, should consider how shocking other content can be, and make sure consumers are warned appropriately,” British politician Matt Warman told the BBC this week.
It’s unclear if or how the social media sites will respond to these demands, but in the meantime, users can take matters into their own hands by disabling auto-play. Here’s how:
Go to the main settings menu (accessed via the downward-facing arrow icon at the top right corner of the screen), and select Settings.
From there, select Videos from the lefthand column and set “Auto-Play Videos” to “Off.”
To disable auto-play on Facebook’s iOS app, click the More button at the bottom right-hand corner of the screen and find Settings, then Videos. From there, you can switch “Auto-play” to “Off.”
On Android, select App Settings, then scroll down to Videos play automatically. Choose “Off.”
Disabling auto-play on Twitter is similarly quick and painless.
On desktop, click on the thumbnail of your profile picture, scroll down and choose Settings. There, you'll find a “Video Autoplay” option under Content. Uncheck that box and select “Save Changes.”
For the iOS Twitter app, click on Me on the bottom right corner of the screen. Select the Gear icon > Settings > Video autoplay and choose “Never play videos automatically.”
On Android devices, choose the Options button before selecting Settings > General > Video Autoplay.
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