Facebook is introducing automatic captioning for videos.
Facebook is trying to make creating and watching videos even easier. The social network is introducing an automatic captioning feature for videos on Facebook Pages, TechCrunch reported Wednesday.
Facebook said the feature has in fact been rolling out to all U.S. English Facebook Pages since October. Not every Page and not every Page administrator has access, Mashable found when searching for the setting.
The system, available within the Page manager, can generate video captions with the click of the button. It’s not perfect, as TechCrunch notes, but administrators can correct any errors in the text. The tool breaks it out line by line, segment by segment, to make it easier to check.
Facebook is encouraging users to add captioning with a prompt that reads, “Add Captions to make it easy for people to watch your video without sound. Captions increase engagement and watch time.”
Publishers previously have cited 85 percent of video views on Facebook come with the sound off, Digiday reported. That’s one reason why some publishers, including Mashable, create videos with text overlaid on images.
Auto-captioning isn’t new to Facebook. Advertisers have been able to add captions since February 2016, during which time Facebook tried to convince advertisers to create ads specifically for the network while simultaneously going after TV ad dollars.
Since Facebook’s videos auto-play and users can watch with or without sound (quite unlike television), captioning is one easy way advertisers can guarantee Facebook users see their messaging.
With this update, more publishers with or without ad spend behind their content can try to get more engagement on their videos. In addition to bolstering ad revenue, Facebook is working to lure creators from YouTube, Snapchat and other digital platforms. Auto-captioning is available to all creators on YouTube.
Facebook will become all video in the next five years, according to an executive speaking at a conference last year. Still, not all viewers will be ready to both listen and watch at all times.
For now, the feature isn’t available to the average user. Facebook declined to comment to TechCrunch on whether that would change. Captioning is also not yet available on Facebook Live.