Facebook’s Autoplay Video Feature is Destroying Cell Phone Bills

NEW YORK — Want to save money on your phone bill? Make sure you turn off the “autoplay” setting on Facebook videos.

Smartphone users are at risk of maxing out their data plans if they don’t change this default setting in the Facebook app, which otherwise will automatically start streaming videos in the News Feed window.

The issue was flagged by consumer finance site MoneySavingExpert.com, which said it had “seen many complaints from people who have been stung with data bills after exceeding their monthly allowance and who believe it to be because of Facebook autoplaying videos.”

Fortunately, the fix is an easy one. If you’re an iPhone user, tap your “Settings” button and then scroll down and click “Facebook.” From there, click “Settings,” “Auto-play,” and then choose “Wi-Fi only” or “Off.”

On Android, bring up the Facebook app and go to your account settings. Click “App Settings,” and then choose ‘Auto-play only on Wi-Fi’ or ‘Off.’

Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment. If you think you’ve been hit with unfair data charges, contact your wireless carrier.

8 comments

  • Sue

    don’t know how you would consider this an ‘unfair charge’. The video ran and used the data. If you did not have the app set properly, I think that is your fault, not your carriers.

    • Sue

      Ok, I see your point with that @MysticFallout. But, if there is a setting on Facebook and people just aren’t using it, you can’t blame the phone companies, or Facebook, for that one.

      • Dawn W.

        I think you can if FB doesn’t warn you it’s changing how it operates, that it could cost you, and how to adjust it back to what it previously defaulted to.

      • Sue

        Ok, Dawn, I KIND of agree with that point. But, really, isn’t it your responsibility to realize that your phone is using more data and deal with that? Yes, it would have been easy enough for FB to put something on everyone’s time line letting them know they have made this change. But, FB is a site each individual chose to be a part of, and it is an app that people consciously chose to put on their phone and to use. Had FB magically set up an account for you, jumped on your phone by itself and started eating up your data without you ever going into it, I would have more sympathy. there has to be some personal accountability too. How is this really any different then someone going to watch a movie on their phone and then complaining because it used their data plan?

  • Josh Bethune

    So get a prepaid phone. Cheaper and you won’t have those big bills. Big bills anyways who wants to pay Verizon wireless and Us Cellular boo koo $80 a month for a stupid plan.

  • Philip Wainwright

    I have a Samsung 4g phone and I can not find an auto play option. Is there another setting I could click on?

    • Dawn W.

      I also have a Galaxy 4S and so far I do not have an autoplay function when I go to FB, which is fine given the issue. We’ll just have to keep an eye open when/if it ever does start happening to us.

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