How to Turn Off Automatic Sound on Facebook Videos

Did you recently receive this rather helpful message from Facebook’s mobile app?

“We’re always working to make Facebook a better place to watch videos. That’s why videos now play with sound on automatically. Use the volume icon on any video to make the sound right for you.”

Well it popped up on my screen and I sure do wish that I had clicked on that “Learn More” button because it might have spared me from what started happening about 4 days later: every freaking video I scrolled across began playing its sound automatically, just as Facebook had threatened back in February when I wasn’t paying attention.

Automatic sound might work for some of you turkeys, but I hate it.

Here’s how to fix it.

1) Look in the bottom right hand corner of your screen for three stacked lines. This is what Facebook calls their “More” button, and it’s like a basement where the keep a lot of extra stuff. CLICK IT!


2) You’ll see a long list of icons and labels for all sorts of stuff. Scroll to the bottom until you see an item marked “Settings” with a gear icon off to the side. CLICK IT!


3) A white menu screen will slide up from the bottom of the screen. The first thing on that list will say “Account Settings”. CLICK IT!


4) A vast menu of additional controls will slide into place. Look for the one marked “Sounds” and CLICK IT!


5) Yet another screen will slide into place. This one features two options, but the one we’re concerned about is labeled “Videos in News Feed Start With Sound”. If your toggle is set to the right, take your finger and slide it over to the left, to turn it off.


6) Click the News Feed button in the lower left hand corner to resume your Facebook experience.



Final Thoughts

Ten years ago the professional web design community considered it a WORST PRACTICE to automatically play sound or video to visitors. The BEST PRACTICE was allow the visitor to choose to play the content at their discretion. This was driven by three factors: hardware capability, bandwidth constraints, and simple courtesy.

Courtesy being the main consideration.
(it was a much simpler, more noble time)

If you ask me, it is still rude to automatically play content to a visitor, because that visitor might be in a situation where they need to be quiet, like a company meeting or hiding from a velociraptor.

Facebook proves over and over that they do not respect your privacy, nor do they extend you the courtesy to opt-in on new programs, they simply foist it onto you with the youthful notion of “adapt or die”.

But it has been my observation that people of all ages will never find out how to turn off this automatic sound “feature” (or any number of other new “features”) and will instead uninstall the Facebook app from their mobile devices.

I like to think that I know what I’m doing, but I had a total brainfart when I encountered auto-sound and had to rely on a Facebook friend to get me pointed in the right direction for tracking down the off button (thanks Christine!).


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