After the Facebook-owned Instagram pissed people off yesterday by altering their terms of service to allow users' photos to be used in ads, Facebook is reportedly working on another way to piss people off: Video ads in the news feed.
AdAge paints a pretty bleak picture of what the Facebook of the future will look like. And of course, by Facebook of the future, we mean Facebook in a few months. According to "several industry executives who have been briefed on the company's plans over the past few weeks," Facebook is planning on rolling on video ads to your news feed before April of 2013.
According to the report, Facebook will probably limit the length of the ads to 15 seconds, and they will appear on both the desktop and mobile version of the site.
AdAge says that the "video ads are expected to grab a user's attention by expanding out of the news feed into webpage real estate in both the left and right columns," but will surely begin in the news feed. There's no word on how this would look on the mobile app.
Unfortunately, it only gets worse from there. Apparently, Facebook is toying with the idea of autoplay - although maybe not for the audio portion of the ads. Either way, people would border on apoplectic if their news feeds began filling up with autoplay ads, I suspect.
When you think about it, there would be plenty of ways for Facebook to incorporate video advertisements into already-existing products like Sponsored Stories. Let's say Warner Bros paid for a Sponsored Story about one of your friends liking one of their movies. Why not show a trailer inside the news feed story?
Of course, this is just a a single-source report from "industry execs," so we can't confirm that Facebook is on the verge of cramming annoying video ads into your news feed. We've reached out to Facebook and will update you if we hear back (although I highly doubt we'd get a lot of additional info). But this would be a pretty significant instigating move for a company who already walks a fine line with many of its users. Sure, Facebook could make a huge push toward big-money media advertising with this initiative - but they would have to be sure that users would eventually accept it (even with a strong initial backlash).
But, even if users complained, Facebook has one thing going for it: Facebook users are usually all bark and no bite when it comes to action after the airing of grievances.