Video advertisements on Facebook to be auto-captioned

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Monday, 15 February 2016 15:52pm

Facebook will begin to roll out a new feature that will make auto-playing advertisements more accessible to people with a disability.

Man giving thumbs up whilst holding card with Facebook 'like' icon

Following the launch of auto-playing video advertisements, new captioning features are being introduced to increase user engagement. These new features by default make advertisements more accessible to users that have a disability.

The changes are being introduced after surveying conducted by the social networking platform found that 80 percent of people react negatively when loud advertisements began automatically playing while navigating through content feeds.

Upcoming changes, which will be rolled out to Facebook users in the United States and Canada first, will see any auto-playing video ads be muted by default, but will now include captions so that users can still have any audio information included within the ads relayed to them without needing to turn sound on. Users will have the ability to turn on the audio soundtrack to ads at their own discretion.

Companies advertising on Facebook have previously been able to include captions with their video ads, but the announced changes will see captions automatically included with new video ads. Advertisers will have the ability to review and edit captions provided before beginning to market them. Advertisers will not have the ability to download auto-captioning files created for their ads.

In order to make the auto-captioning tool as accurate as possible, as many as 50,000 advertisements were transcribed during the tool’s development and included as a part of testing.

Internal tests conducted by Facebook found that the viewing time of video advertisements increased by 12 percent when captions were included.

The announcement is the most significant update to video accessibility by Facebook in the last eighteen months. Updates made by Facebook in September 2014 gave all users the ability to include captions with any uploaded video.

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