Virginia Murders Shows AutoPlay Video Abuse

Earlier this morning a news reporter named Alison Parker whom works for WDBJ and a camera man named Adam Ward were shot and killed live while on-air in Moneta, Virginia. Ward’s fiancee for the morning show was in the control room when the gunshots and screams were heard and the broadcast cut short.

You could clearly hear several gunshots and the camera stand was knocked to the ground and shortly after the live broadcast was cut.

A couple hours later as a manhunt was underway to find the shooter, which was suspected to be an ex-employee of WDBJ, the unthinkable happened. The shooter, Vester Lee Flanagan II, began updating and posting GoPro videos of the slayings to social media sites where he had thousands of followers, mostly thanks to his connections with WDBJ when he had worked there.

Due to Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms that “autoplay” videos on their sites, thousands of viewers saw the live killing of these two people whether they wanted to or not.

Autoplay allows videos to be played automatically without users having to click on the video or clicking a play button. As the video becomes in view of your computer screen and visible, the video will begin to play. Until now, autoplay really hasn’t had a terrible rap other than being annoying at times but now auto-play videos is clearly a dangerous technology tool that can easily be abused as we found out today.

So how do I disable Facebook autoplay of videos?

On the Desktop:

  1. First, click on the top right corner drop-down menu and select settings
  2. Next, select Video from the menu on the left and close to the bottom
  3. Finally, under the Auto-Play Videos option change the option from Default to Off

On Mobile:

  1. First, click the More icon on the right side of the bottom of the Facebook screen
  2. Next, click settings, then tap Videos and Photos
  3. Now, if smart Auto-play is enabled just move the slider to the left to disable it
  4. Finally, change Auto-play option to Never Play Videos Automatically

How do I disable Twitter autoplay of videos?

On the Desktop:

  1. First, click on your profile picture and select Settings from the menu
  2. Next, you should see a section on the right that says Content. Within that area you will see a box that says Video Autoplay.
  3. Lastly, uncheck the box. That’s it!

On Mobile:

  1. First, go to the Me tab on the bottom of the main Twitter page
  2. Next, tap the gear to the right of your profile picture and then select Settings from the menu
  3. Then, select the Video Autoplay option
  4. Lastly. select Never Play Videos Automatically

For all of your Mr. Robot fans, the season finale was to be aired tonight but due to the tragic shooting in Virigina today, USA Networks said that they were going to push the airing back a week to September 2nd.

“The previously filmed season finale of Mr. Robot contains a graphic scene similar in nature to today’s tragic events in Virginia. Out of respect to the victims, their families and colleagues, and our viewers, we are postponing tonight’s episode. Our thoughts go out to all those affected during this difficult time.”

In related news, Google is updating its Chrome browser to stop autoplay for tabs not in focus. Thanks Google!

About The Author

Beverley in an inspiring tech writer which loves reading in her spare time along with spending time with her family and friends.

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