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One Facebook feature may be hiking up your cellphone bill

Bethany Ramos is an editor, blogger, and chick lit author. Bethany works as Editor in Chief for Naturally Healthy Publications.

Turning off this Facebook feature could save you big on monthly data charges

I am a Facebook addict and smartphone user, and now I feel like a sucker. One automatic Facebook feature is known to max out data plans if it isn't changed manually in your smartphone settings.

I'm talking about autoplay Facebook videos. I'm just like you — I was wooed by the fancy-schmancy Facebook autoplay feature when it first rolled out. I love the fact that I can quickly scroll through my feed and see just a few seconds of countless Facebook videos before I commit to watching.

According to CNNMoney, this autoplay feature could be at the core of my outrageous monthly data usage (and not my Google addiction, as I previously thought). As a smartphone user, it's easy to max out your data if you neglect to change this default feature in your phone settings. Without this update, autoplay will allow Facebook videos to automatically stream as you scroll through your newsfeed.

MoneySavingExpert.com first pointed out this money-sucking technology when it observed "many complaints from people who have been stung with data bills after exceeding their monthly allowance and who believe it to be because of Facebook autoplaying videos."

This describes my life perfectly. I can't tell you how many times I am going about my business, checking my Facebook feed on my smartphone, only to receive an unwelcome text from AT&T. The text usually says something like, "Hey, smartphone junkie, you're about to max out your data for the month yet again, so we're giving you a heads-up before we bill you another $10."

Ten extra dollars a month in data quickly adds up. I don't want to admit that I waste more than $100 a year on something I can easily control. If you don't want to end up a sad money-waster like me, then here's what you need to do: 

  • iPhone users: "Tap your 'Settings' button and then scroll down and click 'Facebook.' From there, click 'Settings,' 'Auto-play,' and then choose 'Wi-Fi only' or 'Off.'"
  • Android users: "Bring up the Facebook app and go to your account settings. Click 'App Settings,' and then choose 'Auto-play only on Wi-Fi' or 'Off.'"

It's ridiculous to think how much money we blow on data each month. I'm not going to give up my Facebook addiction just yet, and you don't have to either. Change your settings, and get your autoplay under control.

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