"In the past 12 months, both Twitter and Facebook have begun auto-playing videos when they appeared in a user’s feed. If a video comes across your feed, or you accidentally open it in a tab or tap a link on your phone, the video pops up and just starts playing. You do not have the option to figure out the video’s context, and choose whether to press play: On both Twitter and Facebook, the footage just starts rolling. Oftentimes, that video is an ad, so you close it or ignore it and go on with your life.
But on Wednesday, the video that was auto-playing in everyone’s feed showed the murder of two people. It’s impossible to tell how many people saw the video (though Facebook’s version of the video was shared 500 times before it was taken down), but user reports suggest that thousands and thousands of people witnessed—without being warned ahead of time or knowing what they were getting themselves into—a brief, vivid, and unmistakable snuff film."