Instagram utilizes AI in captions to make videos more accessible

Instagram

Meta Platforms-owned Instagram has introduced automatic captions to videos in an ongoing effort to make content on its platform more accessible.

Starting today, automatic captions will be turned on by default, though users can still opt to turn the feature off. The feature is similar to TikTok’s auto-generated caption functionality, which was introduced to the platform last April.

“It’s a long time coming, but we’re excited to share a new tool that empowers those in the deaf and hard-of-hearing communities. Videos on Instagram will now have auto-generated captions, where you have the option to turn them off or on” Instagram’s Chief Executive Officer Adam Mosseri wrote on social media platform Twitter.

Previously, users would have to add captions to their content in the editing phase to make it accessible to Deaf users and hard-of-hearing users. While Instagram said that the artificial intelligence that auto-generates its caption won’t be perfect, it will continue to improve with each iteration, over time.

​​The company told reporters at tech publication The Verge that the feature was in development for some time but decided to roll it out now because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. With many people now working from home, Instagram is hoping that the new feature will make its content more accessible to a wider audience.

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The move comes as other platforms are also increasing their accessibility efforts. Apple announced last week that it would be rolling out a number of new features for users with disabilities, including closed captions and audio descriptions for video content.

Back in January, Google announced that it was making its search engine more accessible for Deaf and hard-of-hearing users.

It’s unclear how the new feature will compare to those offered by other platforms. The auto-generated captions will be available in 17 languages, including English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Arabic, Turkish, Russian, Vietnamese, Italian, German, Thai, Tagalog, Urdu, Hindi, Malay, Indonesian and Japanese. Support for more languages will be rolled out soon.

The team at Platform Executive hope you have enjoyed this article. Automatic translation from English to a growing list of languages via Google AI Cloud Translation. Reporting by Rob Phillips.

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