Facebook’s latest move ruins Messenger for everyone [Update]

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And you thought all those Facebook messages were private. Sucker!
Thanks, Facebook.
Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

There are plenty of reasons why you should avoid using Facebook Messenger. Here’s one more: Facebook is putting autoplaying video ads in your private conversations.

Why aren’t you switching already?

Recent scandals have encouraged a lot of Facebook users to ditch the platform altogether. The world’s biggest social network has promised to be more careful with our data, but it continues to make baffling decisions that leave a sour taste in our mouths.

Facebook has today confirmed how it will ruin Messenger.

Messenger video ads join your conversations

Video ads that play automatically are joining your conversations. They started rolling out to users on Monday, but it might take a little while for them to appear for all users.

There is no way to avoid these ads. They’re not like those on the web that can be eliminated with a content blocker. Your only choices are to accept them, or switch messaging platforms.

Facebook insists, however, that it will keep an eye on the impact autoplaying videos will have on Messenger users.

“Top priority for us is user experience,” Stefanos Loukakos, who runs Messenger’s ad business, told Recode. “So we don’t yet [if these will work]. However, signs until now, when we tested basic ads, didn’t show any changes with how people used the platform or how many messages they send.”

“Video might be a bit different,” Loukakos added, “but we don’t believe so.”

You’ve probably seen static ads in Messenger already. They’re not nice to look at, but they don’t interfere with the experience in the same way autoplaying video ads do. They also don’t fetch anywhere near as much money as videos, so it’s easy to see why Facebook is happy to make this change.

UPDATE: Facebook reached out to us with the following statement from a Messenger spokesperson:

As we shared with advertisers at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, we are now expanding the availability of video ads to Messenger. We will be rolling out video ads gradually and thoughtfully. People that use Messenger each month are our top priority and they will remain in control of their experience.