Let the Users Decide if a Feature Affects Them

If Facebook is willing to show you a message asking for your phone number, it would be nice to let people know or decide if they want that new feature that is going to drain their data plans.

A while ago, Facebook decided to autoplay videos on the News Feed. Most people were complaining about the change, probably as a natural resistance to change; however, everything changed when people started paying huge bills because of the use of Facebook and its autoplay videos. Please, remember that most non-techy people have limited plans that can be consumed in a short period of time, if Facebook takes your bandwidth and plays videos by default as you scroll the News Feed section.

There are tutorials around the web on how to disable the auto play videos. But, the point is that Auto play should not be auto in the first place or by default. How many users do you think would change it on the settings? Most of them don’t even change their passwords. Some because they are lazy and others because they don’t know how.

Tech savvy people can easily go to the settings and modify it; however, what about the rest of the users, which are the majority? What about grandma or grandpa? (The adults 55+ using FB has grown 80.4% since 2011 in the US.) What about developing countries where they use simple tablets and smartphones with limited data?

The scary part is that it looks like a trend that will continue in the future; other applications are doing the same thing. For example, Instagram, Vine are autoplaying videos and Twitter is considering the possibility of adding auto play videos too. So, you cannot blame only Facebook for this problem because other applications are draining your data plan as well.

If Facebook is willing to show you a message asking for your phone number, it would be nice to let people know or decide if they want that new feature that is going to drain their data plans. Control not only means that you are able to change the settings, but it also means no unexpected behaviors on the app and this is an example of one.

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