Based in Sydney, Australia, Foundry is a blog by Rebecca Thao. Her posts explore modern architecture through photos and quotes by influential architects, engineers, and artists.

Facebook Has A Closed Captioning Problem

[Image Description: Facebook's logo. A blue background and white lowercase "f".]

[Image Description: Facebook's logo. A blue background and white lowercase "f".]

As you probably know, YouTube is my main platform for my videos, but sometimes I upload my videos to Facebook as well. Sometimes, it’s for extra views, because it’s an important video to share, and to make it easier to get stolen videos off of other Facebook pages. (It’s something about Content ID or something. I don’t know. Ask my manager.)

Just like I upload captions to YouTube videos, I upload them to Facebook videos. Very rarely do I have viewers tell me that captions don’t show up on YouTube videos (but that’s why the first line in the info box is to fiddle with the settings if nothing shows up). However, I can’t say the same for videos on my Facebook and I’m not the only one who gets people commenting that there are no captions on the Facebook videos.

I work for both Ai-Media and DTV News and at least once a week (mostly on Ai-Media), there are people commenting about the lack of captions when captions have, in fact, been uploaded. Ai-Media is very adamant on being accessible to d/Deaf and hard of hearing people, as is DTV News. I mean, we at DTV News call ourselves the 100% accessible channel for a reason. Even though we can see the captions on our laptops and our phones and we tell them there are indeed captions uploaded and how to turn them on, we get replies saying there are no captions. Sometimes, we are told this nicely. Sometimes, we’re being screamed at.

Facebook has a closed captioning display problem and I don’t know what or why it is. I only know that for quite some time now, captions usually display automatically for iPhones and not always for Android users. I’ve noticed more Android users having to fiddle with their settings to get captions to show up. On Apple products, there is an option in the accessibility settings to automatically display captions when available. This usually worked for me and all the phones I’ve used up to this point where I am currently using an iPhone 7 Plus. I’ve started to notice that when I view videos using this phone, captions don’t show up, but they work fine on my 6. Why is that? I don’t know.

It’s extremely frustrating, but know that if there are no captions on a Facebook page that is about accessibility and typically captions, it’s likely not the person’s fault, but the fault of Facebook and technology settings. I wish I had a real answer as to why Facebook has this issue, but I don’t. Maybe Facebook will see this article, or someone with more power than me will bring it to their attention, and they’ll try to fix it. Who knows?

Until then, my only suggestion is to watch on a laptop/desk if available or if they have another platform, watch the videos on there. My videos are always on YouTube first as that is my main platform. So if captions don’t work on Facebook, they will work on YouTube.

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