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.


      • 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?

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