TikTok is taking a major step in accessibility, and it’s going to change how creators upload their videos.
At present, TikTok has an auto-caption option that creators can turn on or off when uploading a video. But starting in November, captions will be automatically enabled on every single video, and the option for the creator to choose is being taken away.
Creators will have the ability to edit or delete captions after posting, TikTok said, but they won’t have a choice about whether or not the captions appear when first uploaded. Ultimately, that should result in a much larger number of videos ending up with captions.
While many TikTok creators already put captions over their videos in a wide variety of fonts and colors, auto-captions will be displayed in a basic white font that looks similar to closed captioning on a television.
On the viewer’s side of things, there’s nothing to change. The option to turn captions on or off can already be found under the “accessibility” section of the settings menu. When this new change takes effect, the selected option will remain. If you decide you don’t want to see captions on a certain video, you can tap them and an option to “hide captions” will appear. Tapping the captions button brings them right back.
In a notification going out to creators, TikTok said it placed “high importance on enhancing the user experience and breaking down language barriers” and wanted to ensure that videos can be understood by everyone.
This move not only increases accessibility for people who may be hard of hearing, but also opens videos to people who watch TikTok with the sound off. The new policy, the company said, ensures that the app is inclusive and that everyone can enjoy it “without language limitations.”
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