In an effort to make Facebook live more accessible to users who are deaf or hard-of-hearing, the social media giant will now allow publishers to create and stream closed captions for their Live videos. These can be pulled off either using their own hardware or with the help of a technology vendor like Ai-Media or Telestream.
Closed-captions had been made available by Facebook for non-live videos and last year they had rolled an automated captioning tool to make adding transcripts even easier. This was done in an effort to make its advertising channel more competitive with platforms like YouTube that always play clips with the sound on.
Powered by voice recognition software, it takes the hassle out of transcription while making it easy to edit the subtitles. Recently, this tool came under a lot of criticism after it delivered wrong captions of Mark Zuckerberg's Harvard speech. However, the Verge later reported this to be the fault of the Harvard systems and not Facebook.
The 360 million hearing impaired audience cannot be ignored by Facebook and according to them, one in five videos posted to the site are now Live broadcasts. With this announcement a major portion of videos will now be accessible to the hearing impaired for the first time.
Last year Facebook had launched a tool for helping visually impaired that let screen readers, a software that converts text into speech, describe photos for users.