Facebook said it is rolling out a new full-screen video player on Wednesday aimed at providing a more consistent design and experience for all types of video lengths, including short, long and even live content. The upgraded player, which will be available first in the United States and Canada, is designed to simplify the experience of watching and sharing video content. But more importantly, it will display videos in vertical mode by default, and also allow Facebook to recommend the most relevant videos to watch next, regardless of video type — long, short, or live.

Changes in the latter could impact key factors that creators and advertisers care about, such as watch time, number of views, reach, and more. At the same time, for Facebook, more people watching videos on the platform may increase the time spent on the site, as well as the number of ad views and clicks. It also gives Facebook a way to better compete with other popular video platforms that rely on algorithmic recommendations, such as YouTube and TikTok, by broadening the scope of possible recommendations to include more video formats.

These improved recommendations will also appear on the Facebook Feed and Video tabs outside the player. In addition, Facebook said that given the demand for short-form audio, more Reels will be shown to users in the future.

Facebook says the upgraded player will also offer new controls, such as a full-screen mode for horizontal videos and a slider for skipping in longer videos. In addition, users can tap on the video to bring up more options, such as pausing, rewinding, or forwarding 10 seconds.

Image Source: Yuan

Notably, the player will display videos in vertical mode by default, like TikTok, although users will have a full-screen option for horizontal videos, allowing them to flip to watch in landscape mode. By contrast, TikTok has also tested horizontal videos and 30-minute long-form content to compete with YouTube and other sites.

Facebook’s player will first launch on iOS and Android devices in the United States and Canada before expanding globally in the coming months.

An improved video playback experience may also help Facebook capture the attention of younger viewers.

Image Source: Yuan

Although Facebook’s popularity among Gen Z has declined over the past decade, the New York Times recently reported that many young people are now turning to the site’s Marketplace. This gives Facebook the opportunity to try to capture their attention in other ways on the site, including through video, the social format Gen Z prefers.

There are other signs that young people are also starting to rediscover Facebook, as a report from NBC News suggests that Gen Z is heavily promoting the “Facebook poke” — a long-forgotten gesture and a simple way to say hello Way. For example, in March this year, Facebook announced that the number of pokes had increased 13 times in the past month.

The video player changes also come as U.S. lawmakers are considering a possible TikTok ban, which, if enacted, could increase video consumption on other social platforms.

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