Instagram to introduce auto-generated captions for video

2 Mar 2022

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While the move is designed to make the app more accessible, some have criticised Instagram for not allowing users to edit captions.

Instagram is introducing auto-generated captions for videos, almost a year after rival app TikTok did the same.

The Meta-owned platform said the option would make the app more accessible for deaf and hard-of-hearing users. It will also serve people who like to watch videos with the sound turned off.

Future Human

“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,” Instagram head Adam Mosseri wrote on Twitter.

Until now, creators had to manually insert captions themselves. But captions will now be generated automatically for videos in the Instagram feed and users will have the option to turn these on and off depending on their preferences.

Instagram told TechCrunch that the auto-generated captions will initially be launched in 17 languages, with more to be added in the future. These languages include English, Spanish, Portuguese, French, Arabic, Vietnamese, Italian, German and more.

Mosseri’s announcement was met with criticism from some in the tech community who noted that auto-captions are often unreliable, no matter how advanced the AI behind them is.

There were suggestions that creators should always have the option to upload SRT files containing information on closed captions, or be able to edit the auto-captions for accuracy. Instagram rival TikTok has allowed users to edit their captions since the feature was launched last year.

Instagram has been rolling out a string of measures as it continues to take on TikTok. In January it introduced a trial for a subscriptions feature in the US, aimed at content creators who want to monetise their output. It comes on the tail of TikTok’s new tips feature that was introduced in December.

In 2020 Instagram gave users Reels, which allows them to create short-form videos similar to the ones on TikTok, before also bringing the feature to Facebook.

But TikTok has also been busy making changes to its own platform of late. This week it confirmed it is introducing 10-minute videos as part of its strategy to compete with the likes of Instagram and YouTube.

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Blathnaid O’Dea is Careers reporter at Silicon Republic

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