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Instagram becomes the next video platform to add video auto-captions

This is a huge win for accessibility.

instagram social media logo and blurred background
Image: KnowTechie

There’s no doubt that social media apps have taken the world by storm, considering how most people own smartphones and spend most of their time scrolling through their Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram feeds.

Recently, Instagram head Adam Mosseri announced that a new feature, auto-captioning, would be added to the popular photo and video-sharing app.

Here’s more about this recent announcement and what it means for the millions of people using Instagram in 2022. 

Auto-captions enabled for Instagram feed videos

READ MORE: Apple is bringing live captioning to iPhone, iPad, and Mac

In a recent tweet, Meta-owned Instagram announced it would be introducing auto-generated closed captions for Instagram videos. Until now, creators had to include captions in their videos manually, but the process will now be automated and simpler for influencers and other Instagram users. 

Instagram’s Mosseri mentioned that this feature “was a long time coming” and comes at a time when rival platform TikTok has blown up in popularity. TikTok added auto-captions last April, which could be a driving factor in why Instagram decided to add this feature.

According to the tweet, Instagram also wanted to make content on the app more accessible for users with hearing impairments, such as being hard of hearing or deaf.

READ MORE: Instagram adds some much-needed parental controls to the app

It can also be a useful feature for people who scroll through their feeds with their smartphones on silent. For users that don’t want the feature, captions can be toggled on and off. Additionally, the feature is available in 17 languages with more on the way.

Engadget reports that Instagram will be focusing its efforts on building up the video aspect of its platform and double down on Reels in 2022. 

The implications of this new Instagram feature

instagram auto-caption feature
Image: KnowTechie

Social media comes with its pros and cons of course. Some research suggests it can be tied to higher levels of anxiety and depression in some users. And this may be particularly true when users with disabilities like hearing loss can’t use the sites in the same way as their peers.

However, these apps are a perfect way for friends and families to connect with each other. And there are plenty of benefits businesses can reap by being active on social media.

Generally speaking, the new Instagram auto-captions feature will positively add to the app and help cater content to hard of hearing or deaf communities. However, the company mentioned that the new feature relies on artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms, so it may take time to improve quality. 

Because TikTok implemented an auto-generated captions feature first, Instagram may have seen the rival app as a fierce competitor, which is why adding new features is critical. 

Some users may prefer the traditional Instagram experience. But the company will likely adopt more TikTok-esque features to compete and drive engagement on the app.

Instagram is one of many tech companies trying to increase its accessibility efforts. Consider how YouTube now allows creators to add captions to their livestreams for better accessibility.

Expect more platforms to adopt auto-captions

People who can read captions on videos can better engage with and understand content. The feature may even allow algorithms behind these apps to tailor information for each user.

This definitely isn’t the end for auto-caption features. Expect to see more companies roll out similar features on their own platforms in the months and years ahead.

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Staff writer at ReHack Magazine with a passion for cybersecurity, AI, and all things tech. Offline, you'll find me cruising the neighborhood on my motorcycle or bingeing the latest true crime documentary.

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