Oh joy! Facebook has embarked on a steady roll-out programme to bring auto-playing videos to all of its users. It started with Android devices, progressed to iPhones, and now the team at TechCrunch has noted that it has made it to desktop. Let us, however, be thankful for small mercies: these self-playing videos will remain silent until you click on them to enable the volume. At least you won't suffer the indignity of perfect strangers knowing that you're checking Facebook in a public loo, or being shown up at work as not concentrating on that deeply thrilling spreadsheet as much as your colleagues believed you were. It's only videos that have been uploaded directly Facebook or shared from Instagram that will play automatically; anything else sits in suspended animation. Do then, be kind to your Facebook friends and link video from YouTube, Vimeo, or elsewhere. Of course, this move fits in with Facebook's need to make make money. Next stop: auto-playing video advertisements.
There's no way that you can disable video auto-play entirely. However, if you need to watch your data download limits on your mobile network, you can ensure that videos will only auto-play when you're connected via wi-fi. For iPhone users it's Settings > Facebook > Settings > Auto-play videos on WiFi only. Not that this is much consolation for people living where wi-fi bundles aren't cheap and data limits are tight.