Facebook Adds Automatic Video Captioning Tool

January 5, 2017 BY PATRICK LOFTUS
Updated: January 4, 2018


We’ve all known that fleeting sensation of disappointment — you’re scrolling through your mobile Facebook newsfeed on your commute and you encounter an interesting video that has no captions or subtitles.

Do you dare turn on the volume and risk annoying those seated nearby, or do you keep scrolling and risk never seeing that video ever again? Nobody wants to be in that situation.

Well, now there’s hope.

Tech Crunch has revealed that Facebook quietly enabled a free video captioning on all English-language Facebook pages in the US. Facebook enabled automatic captioning on video ads in February 2016 and began rolling out the feature for regular pages in October of the same year.

Free but Imperfect

Free automated audio transcription is certainly a step in the right direction of making videos more enjoyable and accessible. But that doesn’t mean video producers and Facebook page admins are going to stop adding their own captions or subtitles any time soon.

If you’re privy to YouTube’s notoriously inaccurate automatic captioning feature, then you know that computer-generated captioning technology still has a long way to go.

Are Your Captions Accurate?

For businesses trying to get viewers’ attention using online video, accurate captions are essential. Facebook’s research show that video captions increase view time by an average of 12%.

Inaccurate captions can be harmful to your company’s brand. They can drive viewers away from your video, prevent Deaf and hard of hearing viewers from fully understanding the content, and can lead to embarrassing spelling errors.

If You Want Accurate Captions…

Luckily, adding quality captions or subtitles to your Facebook videos is pretty easy.

First, you’ll need an SRT file which is the caption file format Facebook uses. It’s a simple text file that you can create on your own, or hire a professional captioning service to do it for you.

When you upload a video to your Facebook page, click Edit Video after the video has completed processing.

Where it says Captions, browse your computer for the SRT file, hit Save and — voilà! When you click on your video you’ll see a small ‘CC’ symbol indicating the option to turn on closed captions.

Facebook Adds Automatic Video Captioning Tool

Download the full guide, ‘How To Add Captions & Subtitles to Facebook Videos’:

Download Free Guide: How To Add Captions & Subtitles to Facebook Videos

Read the free report: 2017 State of Captioning.

The closed caption CC icon shown in the middle of a TV.