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Is CNN’s Autoplay Driving You Crazy?

June 5, 2020 Update:

Since this post was originally published (5 years ago), both CNN and Chrome have changed a LOT.  As a result, the original technique for disabling the annoying autoplay of videos on CNN is no longer an option.  However…

There is an extension that will solve the problem.

Load this link in Chrome.  Click the Add to Chrome button.  You will be glad you did.

Another new issue is CNN crashing the tab in Chrome.  This is a Google Chrome update issue.  If this is happening to you, add the AdBlock Plus extension to Chrome.  this stops the video / animated ads from crashing Chrome.  At least it works for me.

If you’re like me, you have several tabs open at once in any given browser.  I use 3 different browsers on 3 separate monitors to access various sites I need to keep up with.  On Google Chrome, I have Facebook, CNN, Google+ and weather all open at the same time.

Starting a few months ago, I noticed audio from some unknown video popping up in the background and running for various amounts of time.  Researching the source of this interruption ( fairly annoying when your volume is up and it’s the middle of the night ) and discovered it is CNN launching preview and advertising videos randomly on its page.

I personally find this to be invasive and unacceptable, so doing a little research, I am publishing a fix for this problem.

In Google Chrome:

  1. Go to Preferences > (Settings)
  2. Click on Advanced Settings at the bottom of the page
  3. Go to Privacy > Content Settings
  4. Go to Plugins > Manage Exceptions
  5. Create a New Exception: [*.]cnn.com
  6. Make the behavior = “Block”
  7. Click “Done” twice to close the windows, then close the tab and relaunch Chrome.

You will now have to Control-Click videos to play them on CNN, but you also will not get blasted with advertising when you least expect it.

In Firefox:

  1. Go to Menu > Addons > Plugins > Shockwave Flash
  2. Set it to Ask to Activate.  This disables Flash player by default and you must click to activate when you want video to play.

You can also install NoScript in Firefox to take control of your privacy and security

In Safari:

  1. Go to Preferences > Advanced
  2. Click  Stop plug-ins to save power
  3. In the Security tab, make sure Allow Plug-ins is checked
  4. Click Website Settings
  5. In the left column, find the media type you want to stop from auto-playing
    (Most non-Flash videos will be QuickTime)
  6. For both Adobe Flash and QuickTime set “When visiting other websites” to Ask (to click to start) or Block to permanently disable video from that source.
  7. Click Done

If all of this makes you just wring your hands in dismay, contact us for a solution

If you’re local to Dallas, Texas we can come to you – or

We can remote in to anyplace in the world.

DFW Computer Integration
7522 Campbell Rd
Dallas, TX 75248


Name of author

Name: Wizard

Short Bio: The Computer Wizard (TCW). TCW was founded by Warren P. Harris in 1994 to service and repair computers in the San Francisco Bay Area. Relocating the business to Plano, Texas in 1999, TCW continued to flourish when an unfortunate loss of data for a wedding Mr. Harris photographed, caused him to research data recovery options. Realizing he would have to either pay someone to recover the photos or find out how to do it himself, the rest, as they say "is history". Approached by a friend who was a Private Investigator in 2006, Mr. Harris studied for his Investigator's license and began honing his skills in Computer Forensics. The company was renamed DFW Computer Integration in 2015.

7 thoughts on “Is CNN’s Autoplay Driving You Crazy?

  • This doesn’t work anymore.


    CNN uses theoplayer – which doesn’t require or use plugins to show videos.


    I am working on a chrome plugin to disable the videos. You cannot disable oplayer with a browser setting (as it’s pure javascript)

    • I’m assuming you realize this post is from 4 years ago, right?
      There is a new extension that solves the problem.
      It is called Disable HTML5 Autoplay and can be downloaded for Chrome. The video will preview, but switch to Pause as soon as it tries to load.

      • Is there a version of this that works with Safari?


        • Set the following in Safari Preferences:

          1. In the Advanced tab, set “Stop plug-ins to save power”.

          2. In the Security tab, set “Allow Plug-ins” by Internet Plug-ins and then click “Website Settings…” for it.

          3. Find the media type you want to stop auto-play in the left hand column(s).

          Most non-Flash videos (mp4/h264/HTML5 video) will be “QuickTime”. You should specify this for Flash Player as well.

          4. Set “When visiting other websites” to Ask to click to start, or Block for permanent disabling.

          5. Click “Done”.

          Safari will play the video(s) on a page for a brief period before stopping to save power, and the noise will cease.

          Clicking on the play button on the video will start the video and audio again for viewing when desired.

  • Yes, I realize it is from 2014. CNN recently switched their video player to theoplayer.js – which plays flash media without using any plugins.

    Every single flash blocker on the market no longer block’s CNN videos, including the one you linked. I would guess this page is going to be viewed more now than when you originally wrote it.

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