Whenever we open Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) and Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) we are greeted by many videos, most of them autoplaying, but what happened yesterday has many asking social media sites to rethink twice on this.
Earlier today, MPs asked the two sites to change this after many users watched the murder of a US TV news crew. Many of the videos were autoplaying just minutes after the incident happened and most were stunned by what they saw.
A parliamentary group gave its thoughts on autoplay and said the two should warn users about graphic content before they watch it. They believe they should do this immediately, to prevent users from watching violent acts like the one yesterday.
In the past, some sites have worked with the government to prevent people from watching graphic videos. Matt Warman told the BBC that social media should consider how shocking the content being posted can be. The Conservative MP for Boston and Skegness added that all people should be warned about what they’re about to see and have an opportunity to decide not to.
He spoke about the option to stop videos from autoplaying but said the site needed to do more because there are others who actually like videos playing but don’t want to see these things.
Where Did The Video Come From?
Just minutes after the murders of two US journalists, who were carrying out a live broadcast at the time of the shooting, it was revealed that the gunman had posted his own footage on social media.
His post was retweeted and shared by thousands of users. After sharing, thousands more accidentally watched the videos not knowing what it was really about.
Both sites have rules on the content that can or cannot be posted but it usually takes them minutes to take them down. It took Twitter around ten minutes to take down the account where the video was originally posted. The suspension removed all the tweets the users were retweeting.
It took Facebook a little bit longer to take down the account and the video. A spokesman for the company said a page and profile had been removed for breaking the rules.
Why Is There Autoplay?
The two sites say the videos are easier to use when they have autoplay. Plus they increase the amount of viewers and make them more attractive to advertisers.
Facebook started testing autoplay two years ago, the feature was officially released three months later. The change immediately increased the amount of videos watched. Earlier this year, the social networking giant revealed that the number of video posts per user had increased 75 percent around the world. Twitter added this feature just a few months ago.
The two sites give you the option to turn it off, which many will do after what they saw yesterday.
Will It Stay?
The two have not said anything about removing it. This is not the first time this happens, in January of this year, users watched the murder of a French policeman during the attacks of Charlie Hebdo.
Facebook took action two months after that attack but violent videos are still appearing on their site. The shooting yesterday showed just how quickly a video with graphic content can be seen by thousands.
What do you think about autoplay? Should it be removed? Let us know in the comments.