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Twitter, Chasing Facebook, Brings Autoplay Video and GIFs To Your Feed

Twitter joins the party Facebook started in 2013.

Posted on June 16, 2015, at 2:00 p.m. ET


Twitter looks just a little bit more like Facebook today.

On Tuesday, the company finally rolled out its long-in-the-offing autoplay video feature, extending it to most any video, GIF, or Vine posted to its timelines. The videos will play automatically and without sound, just as they do on Facebook, where videos have been autoplaying on mute since 2013.

The change fits in with Twitter's progression from a text-only platform to one that emphasizes images and video content. The Twitter of today feels very different from the one of a few years ago, when images in Tweets did not automatically expand in timelines.

Twitter's embrace of autoplay video is largely driven by revenue concerns. The company turned in weak results last quarter — in part thanks to ad revenue that came in below expectations. Autoplay video give Twitter a new hook to pull in video ad dollars, which are typically quite a bit higher than those of traditional display ads. Tellingly, the only person quoted in Twitter's blog post announcing autoplay is a senior senior media director at Heineken.

Autoplay video has worked well for Facebook. The company today generates roughly four billion video views each day, a significant increase from the 1 billion it generated last year.