Facebook Messenger has been running advertisements next to private messages for the last year and a half, but those ads are about to get a lot more intrusive.
This week, the social network announced that they'll begin displaying autoplay video ads right next to messages from family and friends. The video ads reportedly started rolling out on Monday.
Facebook Messenger's Stefanos Loukakos told Recode on Tuesday that the company is aware of the risk that users will be turned off by the intrusive nature of autoplay ads showing up right next to personal messages, so Facebook will be closely monitoring the results of the new advertising effort.
"Top priority for us is user experience," Loukakos explained. "So we don’t know 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, but we don’t believe so."
This new strategy is an apparent solution to Facebook's ongoing problem of running out of places in the news feed to display ads. In 2016, Facebook CFO Dave Wehner pointed out, "The optimal ad load is really a mix of art and science. We also want to be thoughtful about making sure each person’s overall feed experience has the right balance of organic and ad content."
Well, at least intrusive autoplay ads are a more honest way to make a buck than selling all of our data.