Twitter has introduced a new feature that aims to provide auto-captions to all videos on the social media platform to improve accessibility.
Twitter announced on December 14 that going forward, “all videos” on the social media platform will be auto-captioned. This announcement comes a few months after the company introduced the option to upload SRT subtitle files to videos back in August.
According to the tweet, auto-captions work on web browsers by simply pressing the CC button that appears as part of the video overlay. For mobile users, it’ll require turning captioning on from the device’s settings. Videos that have auto-captioning on shows a note saying “Transcriptions auto-generated by Microsoft.”
While the feature does appear to be available for the majority of videos I’ve seen uploaded, a test video from content creator and consultant Rikki Poynter appears to not have worked and a CC button is not present at all.
It’s incredibly important that we highlight that the existence of Twitter auto-captions should not be used as a replacement for providing legible, accurately created captions and subtitles. Auto-captions do not provide speaker labels, they can be incorrect, and they don’t provide the beat, or emphasis on dialogue as accurately as they would if they were manually created.
Users should instead strive to create their own subtitles or captions, be that through baking them directly onto the video, or creating an SRT file, and use the auto-caption as a last resort. Preferably as a placeholder while subtitles and captions are being created.
As it happens, the community has been requesting for Twitter to introduce an editor allowing users to use the auto-captions file to edit the subtitles or captions in a similar way to how YouTube allows. Whether this will become available through the Twitter Media Studio in the future is not known right now.