GIFs No Longer Autoplay On Facebook Pages

UPDATE: This is a permanent change according to Spencer Hitchcock of Facebook who stated: “In our efforts to make News Feed an even more visual and engaging place to connect, we have been introducing new design updates in News Feed…” You can read the full statement from Facebook and the support thread here: Facebook Developer Support

facebook link to videos gifs autoplay change permanent

Original Article follows

Up until a few days ago Facebook Social Media Managers could share a link to a GIF on their page and (often times) it would autoplay for users scrolling through the Facebook Newsfeed, much like a video does. This is no longer the case for seemingly all Facebook pages and according to Larry Kim is also impacting Facebook Ads that used GIFs.

As part of Winner Winner Chicken Dinner‘s content network Explore Media we run a page called Fails. The page curates fail videos, images, and GIFs sharing them from multiple sources including user submitted videos, Imgur, Gfycat, Giphy, and other places. We began noticing that none of the GIFs we had scheduled to post on this page were working on Friday of last week and started to investigate. We then noticed that GIFs were not autoplaying on our clients pages and experimented with posting GIFs to other pages in our network from a variety of sources, including direct links to GIFs not hosted at the big 3 GIF websites.

All of our efforts ended the same, with Facebook displaying a static box showing a thumbnail of the GIF and no label telling users that the image is a GIF.

gifs no longer autoplay on facebook pages

This change appears to be retroactive as well impacting all GIFs ever posted to a page. We’ve gone back through our post history for numerous pages and found time and time again that the GIFs are all displayed in the same fashion, in a box with a thumbnail and no explanation.

There is a chance that this could be a bug. When posting a GIF at first we notice that it autoplays, but when the post is seen in the newsfeed or navigated to by other means the autoplay disappears.

This change does not impact personal accounts. All GIFs we tested on personal profiles of our team members autoplay correctly.

The same GIF no longer autoplaying on our Facebook page, does autoplay on my personal profile.
The same GIF no longer autoplaying on our Facebook page, does autoplay on my personal profile.

Worse yet, Facebook doesn’t appear to have made an announcement about this change with no mention of it anywhere on their official blog (another sign this could be a bug), leaving many Social Media Managers scratching their heads.

Update: I heard rumors that the GIFs posted using a link autoplayed on mobile. This is only true for the Page Manager app used by Social Media Managers. The GIFs do not autoplay via the mobile app on Android or iPhone or via a mobile web browser.

Joe Youngblood

Joe Youngblood

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Joe Youngblood is a top Dallas SEO, Digital Marketer, and Marketing Theorist. When he's not working with clients or writing about marketing he spends time supporting local non-profits and taking his dogs to various parks.

7 Comments Join the Conversation →

  • geolgar

    Any news about this? Did facebook said something?

    • joeyoungblood

      Updated the post with info found on the Facebook Developer website.

  • Xiomara Ruiz

    this sucks!!!!!!!!! i hate them!

  • Oui Capitan

    Thanks so much for sharing, Joe.

    We started creating GIFs for our Facebook page and boosting them (we prefer uploading and boosting GIFs through imgur rather than direct GIFs/videos on FB because video boosts SUCK)…. and we noticed a few weeks ago that all the links turned static!

    This is the only info online about this.. so thank you. At least now we know to stop wasting our time.

    • joeyoungblood

      You’re welcome. Have you tried direct uploading? If so do you have feedback on if that’s working or not?

      • Oui Capitan

        Yes – now we upload the GIFs directly, but then the GIFs are uploaded (and boosted) as videos. Facebook support was no help when it came to any of this.

        Boosting videos compared to regular article/image boosts are so different. The engagement we got when we uploaded our gifs through imgur and boosted it as an image, versus a direct GIF upload on Facebook was INSANE. The former got over 3k likes, 1.5k shares.. The latter got 99 likes, 50 shares..

        It’s such a scam.

        • joeyoungblood

          Facebook killing more organic. That sucks :/