Twitter offers automatically generated subtitles for videos

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Twitter is making its platform more accessible by adding automatically generated captions for videos. The company announced that the feature will be made available for Android, iOS and web clients. This finally enables users to enjoy videos even when they are muted.

Subtitles are automatically displayed on Android and iOS while videos are muted. Web users will find a CC button next to the video to toggle the feature on and off. Mobile users can customize the visibility of subtitles. It’s worth noting that auto-generated subtitles only apply to newly uploaded videos on Twitter.

Unfortunately, there is currently no mechanism to report incorrect subtitles. But speaking to The Verge (via), a Twitter spokesperson said, “We’re always looking for ways to improve our accessibility features.”

The function is pretty simple and doesn’t require much from the users. In all likelihood, you’ve seen auto-generated subtitles on your Twitter feed, but you don’t know it yet. Twitter has been a little slow to dispel concerns about accessibility on its platform. Following criticism from activists in 2020, the company created two new accessibility teams.

Twitter waited a full year before releasing automatic subtitles for voice tweets

Twitter received significant opposition when it published voice tweets with no auto-subtitles in 2020. In July of this year, the company finally brought out subtitles for voice tweets. Similar to videos, no subtitles are displayed on older voice tweets. In particular, Twitter’s clubhouse rival “Spaces” already offers automatically generated subtitles.

Apps like TikTok also waited a while before introducing automatic subtitles. The platform introduced the function in April of this year. Previously, creators had to manually generate subtitles for their clips. TikTok’s implementation also allows creators to change or edit the subtitles. In the meantime, viewers also have the option of turning off automatic subtitles entirely.

As for Twitter, the company is testing a new reporting process for tweets that violate its harmful norms of behavior. In addition, the app could also implement a new process for flagging tweets. Obviously, given the complexity of the options involved, the company’s reporting process needed an urgent revision. With the new test function, Twitter wants to pursue a “people first” approach to reporting harmful behavior.



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