Messaging, voice and video calling have surged in recent months during the COVID-19 pandemic as people around the world check in with family, friends and colleagues. Audiences for newscasts and government briefings have also ballooned as the public seeks updates on the outbreak, travel guidance and personal hygiene advice to protect themselves from getting sick.
While there is no shortage of information, not everyone can access it. It needs to be available to the hundreds of millions of people in the world who are deaf or hard of hearing. An estimated 70 million people are deaf and 300 million are hard of hearing. While Facebook provides automatic closed captioning for on-demand videos in 16 languages, and just announced similar capabilities for Instagram IGTVaccess to live, real-time news and information is still a need to be met.
Facebook AI researchers and engineers have now made live video content more accessible by enabling automatic closed captions for Facebook Live and Workplace Live. Already, six languages are supported: English, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, German and French. Facebook Live automatic captions are helping ensure that millions of viewers across the world – whether they are deaf or hard of hearing, or are just watching where audio is not available – get the message. And, as workplace policies evolve, automatic captioning has become essential for employers to keep their staff and customers informed.