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Video Autoplay Needs to Stop
By: Jessica Cherok
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There are probably very few people who haven't been outed for perusing social media at work by autoplay videos. Suddenly sound starts playing and the whole office knows you're not working diligently on that TPS report.

Yesterday, however, video autoplay took a horrific turn. As posts related to the shooting of two TV reports during a live broadcast began to go viral, many people found themselves unwittingly exposed to watching a murder.

Most of the major social media outlets — Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. — have the autoplay feature. While some of these sites give users the ability to turn off the autoplay feature, not every user was aware they could disable it.

Facebook and Twitter both removed the shooter's accounts, but not before the live video from the shooting, plus the video the shooter posted, had begun to make rounds on social media. A YouTube posting of the shooting has also been removed.

Some urged social media sites to make autoplay a feature that users opt into, not something requiring them to opt out.

However, as the platforms move toward video content, as well as with the rise of streaming services like Periscope, it seems more likely that autoplay is a feature here to stay.

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About the Author
Jessica Cherok is an advocate for online privacy, campaigning for ethical data practices and the protection of personal privacy.
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