I hate autoplay videos. November 22, 2017 4:16 AM   Subscribe

I'm 99.9% sure that there's no practical way to get the user base to stop linking to sites that have autoplay video embedded in them, but as a techno-doof, I'm wondering if there's any kind of, I don't know, pass-through or something that can generate URLs that set autoplaying videos to not play? Like an appended bit of code along with all the tracking kerfuffle on the URL? Failing that, any recommendations for video autoplay blockers for Chrome that actually work would be most welcome. My test page (which all the autoplay blockers fail at blocking autoplay on) is this one, which was linked from this post.
posted by Shepherd to Feature Requests at 4:16 AM (32 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

Good luck! I loathe autplay myself, and have had about exactly as much luck as you have in finding something that will block them (the best was the one that didn't block autoplay on links such as the one in the post, but DID manage to make it impossible for me to view the youtube videos I actually wanted to watch. *sigh*). At any rate, I'll go ahead and put a warning on that link. We're happy to add a note whenever anyone points this out.
posted by taz (staff) at 4:20 AM on November 22


FWIW, the new Safari (v11) has a built-in anti-autoplay feature that did block that CNN player from starting — so there is hope.
posted by Celsius1414 at 6:06 AM on November 22 [4 favorites]


Safari will automatically block autoplay videos.
posted by mecran01 at 6:06 AM on November 22


Via Twitter: If you use Google Chrome, go to

chrome://flags/#autoplay-policy

and set it to "Document user activation is required."

Boom: no more auto-playing videos.
posted by OntologicalPuppy at 6:19 AM on November 22 [27 favorites]


On a related note, there's a preference in Firefox's about:config called media.autoplay.enabled, and toggling it to false seems to be working for me on the couple of pages I've tried so far.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 6:56 AM on November 22 [18 favorites]


Just tested in Chrome on the test page linked in the OP after making the change suggested by OntologicalPuppy. No autoplay on that page!
posted by COD at 7:27 AM on November 22


chrome://flags/#autoplay-policy

This doesn't work for me. I cleared my cache both within Chrome and with CCleaner. Tried with and without incognito. With and without Ublock. I'm using Version 62.0.3202.94 which Chrome tells me is the most recent.

I would love to have this feature because this is my #1 complaint about websites (#2 is the interstitials that usually ask for your email address - if you know how to get rid of those I will buy you a beer sometime).
posted by AFABulous at 7:37 AM on November 22


Okay, I installed the extension Animation Policy, which is intended to stop gifs and says specifically it doesn't stop video, but it did sorta work on the CNN page for some reason. The banner ad* autoplays, without sound, but the main video (about Cassidy) doesn't. It also works on gifs as intended, which I verified by going to giphy.com.

*This ad is stopped by UBlock, I'd just disabled UBlock on that page to troubleshoot.
posted by AFABulous at 7:54 AM on November 22


I think the problem is that people are already using things to block these videos, so they're not even aware when they share an URL that in someone else's browser it WILL blast noise loudly right into their shared office space.
posted by easternblot at 8:14 AM on November 22 [2 favorites]


Mr. Bad Example's Firefox tip works for me, yay!
posted by carter at 8:38 AM on November 22 [2 favorites]


I'M HELPING!
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 9:26 AM on November 22 [12 favorites]


chrome://flags/#autoplay-policy

Warning: this messes up the Washington Post's crossword puzzles.
posted by JanetLand at 10:26 AM on November 22


I make an effort to include [autoplay warning] if there is autoplay content, or avoid links with it if at all possible.

So outside of technical solutions, there's also good posting/commenting etiquette that can help with this as far as it being a supreme annoyance goes.

But autoplay videos are also a serious web accessibility failure. People who build autoplay into their page design are incompetent web designers.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 10:32 AM on November 22 [4 favorites]


I make an effort to include [autoplay warning] if there is autoplay content, or avoid links with it if at all possible.

So outside of technical solutions, there's also good posting/commenting etiquette that can help with this as far as it being a supreme annoyance goes.


Yeah, I hate being surprised by an autoplay video. It's still unpleasant clicking into one but if I know it's about to happen, I'm prepared and my mouse and cursor are ready to X the hell out of whatever video or box pops up.
posted by Fizz at 10:34 AM on November 22


I can't focus if there's anything moving when I'm trying to read a site. That includes gif avatars on Twitter, Mastodon and other sites. I wish they would disallow those. It's definitely something up with me; I can't read paper books in public places either where people or cars might be in my peripheral vision.
posted by AFABulous at 10:54 AM on November 22 [1 favorite]


Safari will automatically block autoplay videos.

How do you make it do that? Because mine doesn't. Seems like every tv news org's site has autoplay video even if they have the same story in text, and it drives me nuts when it waits 15-30 seconds to start up.
posted by ctmf at 1:26 PM on November 22


mandolin conspiracy: "People who build autoplay into their page design are incompetent web designers."

Or competently implementing something Sales believes is key to grabbing eyeballs.
posted by chavenet at 1:45 PM on November 22 [3 favorites]


Web designers very rarely have the authority to make the best or worst decisions that go into a website.

Anyway. The autoplay-blocking flag is a user setting in the latest version of Safari. Safari menu -> Preferences... -> Websites tab. At the bottom of the screen you can designate a global rule regarding autoplay, and then tweak that rule on a per-site basis.

For me Safari's autoplay blocking works pretty well generally but fails right the fuck over on YouTube pages, I've noticed. Although it works okay for the moment on gaming.youtube.com. I can't tell if Google thinks autoplay video is so important that they'll even attempt to override it when there's absolutely no reason to (I mean, i expressly visited your page that only contains a video, what the hell else was I planning on doing but watching it; why can't I start it manually if that's what I've said I want to do), or if it's because I've got something set in uBlock that's messing with it.
posted by ardgedee at 3:24 PM on November 22 [1 favorite]


uBlock messed up all of YouTube's functionality so bad I had to disable it for YouTube.
posted by ctmf at 4:49 PM on November 22


I can't focus if there's anything moving when I'm trying to read a site. That includes gif avatars on Twitter, Mastodon and other sites. I wish they would disallow those.

I'm in the same boat. In Firefox, you can change these two settings in about:config to make pretty much everything static everywhere. I highly recommend it. (The only downside is that you can't animate gifs that you want to animate. I just open a different browser in those rare cases.)

• image.animation_mode = none
• media.autoplay.enabled = false (mentioned up-thread)
posted by Lirp at 5:18 PM on November 22


I'm in the same boat. In Firefox, you can change these two settings in about:config to make pretty much [GIFs] static everywhere. I highly recommend it. (The only downside is that you can't animate gifs that you want to animate. I just open a different browser in those rare cases.)

There is a Toggle Animated GIFs add-on for Firefox that I use along with Flashblock and everything else. You can set it to trigger GIF animations in a few ways (e.g. on hovering) so that you can engage with stuff where the animation is actually necessary without having everything blinking and moving all the goddamn time.

Stuff like this is, of course, why I've had to pause Firefox upgrades, since naturally it's not currently Quantum-compatible. Sigh.
posted by ubersturm at 7:16 PM on November 22


Safari will automatically block autoplay videos.

How do you make it do that? Because mine doesn't. Seems like every tv news org's site has autoplay video even if they have the same story in text, and it drives me nuts when it waits 15-30 seconds to start up.


Assuming you have v11 (which I think comes with High Sierra maybe?), go to Safari > Preferences > Websites and click on "Auto-Play" from the list on the left. That's where you can choose among:
  • "Allow All Auto-Play"
  • "Stop Media with Sound"
  • "Never Auto-Play"
by individual website or globally.

While you're there, you can (among other fun activities) turn off all the camera, microphone, and location access, as well as enabling the built-in decruftifying Reader feature by website (heavens be praised).
posted by Celsius1414 at 8:29 PM on November 22 [1 favorite]


Safari 11 (the one we're talking about) is available through software update for MacOS 10.11, 10.12, and 10.13. (El Capitan, Sierra, and High Sierra)
posted by ardgedee at 4:32 AM on November 23


I'm looking for a way to only stop autoplay on media that has sound on Firefox. I'm fine with animated GIFs looping silently, in fact I really want that. I just don't want bullshit making noise at me. I'm using Firefox Quantum, but pre-57 also doesn't seem to have a way. My understanding is the media.autoplay.enabled setting blocks silent video too. Also it doesn't reliably block everything.

Props to Apple for being first out the gate with this feature. Chrome is promising to implement it next year.
posted by Nelson at 8:10 AM on November 24


Nelson: media.autoplay.enabled doesn't affect GIFs. Those are handled by a different setting (image.animation_mode that I mentioned above). I've found that media.autoplay.enabled reliably prevents autoplay on all sites and videos that I encounter (including Shepherd's test page in the original post). If there's anything it's failing on, I'd be curious to see an example. It doesn't make any distinction between silent and audible videos, true. Are silent background videos a thing now?
posted by Lirp at 9:14 AM on November 24 [1 favorite]


Thanks Lirp, I was just going on what I read. How about GIFV? Those are MP4 files without a soundtrack, used as a more efficient animated GIF encoding.
posted by Nelson at 10:58 AM on November 24


Answering my own question, in Firefox setting media.autoplay.enabled to false does stop automatic GIFV playback. Example link; you have to right click and select play to view it. It also not only stops YouTube videos from automatically starting, it breaks the big play button in the middle of the video screen example here. I also can't figure out how to make the sound play here.

In every case the setting is indeed stopping the media from playing, but then the site is degraded in some way. That seems to be a common theme with autoplay media, the page is designed assuming it will play and there's little or no affordance for setting it playing if it doesn't.
posted by Nelson at 1:28 PM on November 24


That's the advantage in how Safari does it (providing a relatively accessible pane that allows the user to control the default and per-site exceptions). It's still kind of unwieldy, but it's a way around the giant-hammer approach. I hope Firefox, Chrome, and Edge do something similar. I mean, doing it better would be even better, but just that much should be sufficient.
posted by ardgedee at 2:58 PM on November 24


How great to hear what I thought was a lovely thought shared by so many others.

Not asked for, but Netflix also has an autoplay setting you can disable, too. I hate having the thing shove me into the next episode without asking.
posted by acrunchysignal at 7:44 PM on November 25


I went into my Firefox and disabled the media autoplay. But I then had to go back in and re-enable it because Hulu got all huffy and said it couldn't play anything. Afterwards, it felt much better and played my stuff. So . . .
posted by MovableBookLady at 9:20 PM on November 25


Pornhub has finally figured out how to get around the blockers. :/ Unless they just recently started using YouTube-style preroll ads.
posted by AFABulous at 8:42 AM on November 26


Blast! Chrome's chrome://flags/#autoplay-policy does not seem to defeat the video on this page:

https://www.cnet.com/how-to/how-to-uninstall-default-apps-in-windows-10/

Anyone got anything for this?
posted by Shepherd at 11:29 AM on November 28


« Older GIVE UP YOUR FOOD   |   Turkey Day 2017 with MST Club Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments