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Facebook announces newsfeed video feature

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg
Getty Images
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg

Facebook just announced in a blog post that it's making it easier and more appealing to watch videos in your newsfeed.

Here's the change it is slowly rolling out to individual mobile users: when you see a video in your news feed, the video will automatically play silently as you scroll past it. Until now videos have been static, looking like photos with a little 'play' symbol.

The blog post describes the videos as "coming to life" as soon as you see them. A quick tap on a silently streaming video launches it with sound and allows it to take over your whole screen.

It's key to note that Facebook is first rolling this out just as a test for Individual users, not for brands. Even if a brand you're following embeds a video into a post, or a company pays to promote a post with a video, it will not automatically play yet.

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This is just a tiny test and for now is restricted from corporate or brand use, but the potential for Facebook to grow its advertising revenue is huge. Video ads are more valuable as they generally cost more, which means higher revenue for Facebook.


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But assuming Facebook does let brands auto-roll ads, this could go in one of two ways.

Best-case scenario, we could see brands get really innovate and create appealing content that happens to be an ad. Worst-case scenario: your newsfeed turns into a clutter of commercials.

We can bet Facebook is trying to figure out how to achieve the former rather than the latter.

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—By CNBC's Julia Boorstin. Follow her on Twitter: @JBoorstin

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  • Working from Los Angeles, Boorstin is CNBC's media and entertainment reporter and editor of CNBC.com's Media Money section.