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Facebook testing videos that autoplay in mobile News Feed

Videos uploaded to the social network will play silently without prompt for a small group of members using mobile devices.

A small group of people using Facebook's iOS and Android apps will see videos that start playing as soon as they appear in News Feed.

Facebook videos that play whether you want them to or not are headed to the mobile News Feed for a small group of people.

The social network said Thursday that it is kicking off a test to automatically play videos in the News Feed in its apps for iOS and Android. With the change, videos will play silently as soon they appear in News Feed. On tap, the video will play with sound in full screen.

During the test, only videos uploaded directly to the social network by individuals, verified Pages, or musician and band Pages will play on appearance. The restrictions mean that, for the time being, videos in sponsored content -- aka News Feed ads -- and videos shared through third-party applications, including Instagram, will require you to manually hit the play button as usual.

"We're always looking to update the video experience on Facebook, and right now, this is just a test to help videos become more vibrant and lively on users' News Feeds," a company spokesperson told CNET.

Facebook, however, left the door open for marketers at some later date to reach you with videos that play without prompt.

The social network's new autoplay approach is akin to the format of Instagram and Vine; both apps start playing videos as soon they appear in their respective feeds. That's not to say it will go over well with Facebook members who could balk at the force-fed change or object to autoplay videos for practical reasons such as additional data usage.

The experiment seems tailored to gauge people's reaction to a potentially controversial format ahead of the rumored release of 15-second, TV-like video advertisements that autoplay in News Feed, which have been delayed repeatedly according to reports.

Facebook's mobile video autoplay experiment will reach a small group of U.S. mobile users in the coming weeks, the company said.