Facebook Announces Captioning for Facebook Live Videos

Updated: June 3, 2019


Facebook announced today that it is enabling a captioning feature for Facebook Live videos.

Considering how 1 in 5 of all videos on Facebook are now Facebook Live videos, this is a big step towards making more video content on the web accessible to Deaf and hard of hearing viewers.

Users will now be able to create their own closed captions for their live streamed event or use a third party contractor to create real-time captions for them.

Subsequently, viewers will now be able to view the live captions if the feature is enabled in their device’s settings.

Limitations & Differences Between CEA-608 and ASR

Right now, Facebook is only offering support for CEA-608 format captions to publishers using their Live API.

Facebook Live captions are different from computer-generated captions (automatic speech recognition, ASR, or autocaptions) you might find on regular, standard-user-uploaded Facebook or YouTube videos.

Autocaptions tend to be much less accurate, but are usually free. Facebook and YouTube both allow you to edit automatic captions for accuracy. The kind of captions Facebook Live supports usually requires a stenographer, or a human being trained to type out the spoken dialogue as accurately as possible in real time.

Who is this for?

Those who will benefit the most from this new feature are likely organizations that use Facebook Live as a tool for generating engagement. It takes at least another person, a small team, or a live captioning contractor working on the side during live streaming to ensure live captions are done properly.

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