Facebook has announced better accessibility on its live streaming platform, adding closed captioning to Facebook Live. The move aims to make Facebook’s video streaming option more inclusive for individuals who are deaf or otherwise have trouble hearing. The company says the new feature is ‘a key part of building [a] global community,’ though it will depend on publishers, too — they have to take advantage of the feature for captioning to show up on their videos.
Close captioning, of course, adds text transcription overlays onto videos, making it possible to read the text when necessary. According to the company, Facebook Live viewing has increased four-fold over the last year, so much so that now one out of every five Facebook video is being broadcast live. That makes better accessibility important.
Facebook has long offered closed captioning support for its videos — the ones that aren’t live, that is — assuming publishers include captioning with their content. Publishers who can’t or don’t want to take the time to create captions can utilize Facebook’s speech recognition technology to have them automatically generated. According to the company, publishers can add CEA-608 standard closed captions for their live broadcasts, or they can use third-party captioning services.
On the user end of things, you’ll need to make sure you have close captioning enabled in order to see the captions. To do this, click the “down arrow” icon if you’re on desktop, then select ‘Videos.’ From there, click ‘Off,’ then select ‘Always Show Captions.’
You can also turn the captions on from within the iOS app by tapping ‘Settings,’ then ‘General > Accessibility > Subtitles & Captioning.’ Toggle on the option for ‘Closed Captions + SDH.’