Following Facebook’s Cues, Twitter Adds Autoplay to Videos

Twitter isn’t waiting for users to press the play button anymore: The company added autoplay functionality to videos uploaded to its platform Tuesday in an attempt to increase video views and ramp up monetization.

Starting this week, videos embedded in Twitter’s timeline will automatically start playing when viewed on the web, or through Twitter’s iOS app. The company plans to add autoplay to its Android app in the near future as well.

Videos are muted until a viewer decides to un-mute them, and Twitter is also adding a new fullscreen video player that should make for a more immersive viewing experience. Autoplay is also being added for videos uploaded to Vine as well as animated Gifs.

Twitter is also getting more aggressive about monetizing video, and is hoping to attract brands to its platform by making sure that consumers actually watch their ads. The company is only billing advertisers for ads that have been 100% visible for at least three seconds, it announced Tuesday. “If a video is not 100% in-view, we don’t think an advertiser should be charged,” it said in an announcement blog post. 

Twitter’s push to monetize video advertising comes at a critical time for the company: Investors have been underwhelmed by the company’s financial performance in recent quarters. As a result, Twitter CEO Dick Costolo announced last week that he is going to leave his post at the end of the month, with co-founder Jack Dorsey stepping in as interim CEO.

Adding autoplay could help Twitter to quickly boost its metrics and appease investors, as Facebook has shown: The competing social network first started experimenting with autoplay videos in 2013, and began to roll this feature out more widely in 2014. Facebook has since seen huge growth in video playback, hitting 4 billion daily views in Q1 of 2015.

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