Facebook Live Videos Are About to Become a Lot More Accessible to Deaf, Hard-of-Hearing Users

Publishers can add closed captions or work with third-party captioning companies

Facebook announced Tuesday that publishers of Facebook Live videos can now add closed captions in order to make those videos more accessible to users who are deaf or hard-of-hearing.

Product manager Supratik Lahiri and director of accessibility Jeffrey Wieland said in a Newsroom post that daily watch time for Facebook Live videos has quadrupled over the past year, adding that one out of every five videos on the social network is a Live video.

Users must have their captioning settings turned on in order to automatically see closed captions.

Lahiri provided more details for publishers in a Facebook Media blog post:

With this update, publishers using the Live API (application-programming interface) can now add CEA-608 standard closed captions to Facebook Live broadcasts, opening up those videos to audiences who are deaf or hard-of-hearing. People who have their captioning settings turned on will then automatically see closed captions on Live broadcasts on mobile and desktop whenever they’re available.

Publishers who don’t create their own live closed captions via a CEA-608 data stream can work with third-party captioning companies to generate and insert real-time closed captions into their Facebook Live broadcasts. We’ve been developing and testing this capability at events like this year’s F8, in partnership with captioning services provider Ai-Media. We’re excited to allow publishers of all kinds to reach a broader audience with closed captions in Facebook Live.

For information on how to add closed captions to Facebook Live broadcasts, click here.