This is a sneaky big addition – today, Twitter has announced that all videos uploaded within tweets will have auto captions enabled, providing more ways for users to consume video content in the app.
Where are video captions when you need them? They’re here now automatically on videos uploaded starting today.
Android & iOS: auto-captions will show on muted Tweet videos; keep them on when unmuted via your device's accessibility settings
Web: use the "CC" button to turn on/off pic.twitter.com/IHJAI31IvX
— Twitter Support (@TwitterSupport) December 14, 2021
As explained by Twitter, all videos attached to tweets from today will have auto captions enabled. Captions will be activated for in-stream videos that are muted, on both iOS and Android, while desktop users will be able to switch them on and off as they choose.
Twitter’s auto captions are available in 37 languages, and while translation is not available as yet, the captions will appear in the language of the device used to upload the clip.
Also, a key downside, Twitter’s auto captions are not editable at this stage. Both translation and editing tools are still in development.
The announcement is the latest advance in Twitter’s accessibility features, which got a boost last year with the announcement of two new internal teams focused on ensuring optimal utility for all users. That came after the company was criticized for launching audio tweets without a captions option, which helped Twitter recognize the need for more dedicated focus on his front.
Twitter also announced auto-captions for voice tweets last year (which it began testing in July), while auto captions are also available for Spaces.
But auto captions in regular videos may be the biggest step yet. And as noted by TechCrunch, it could also be particularly valuable in Twitter’s revamped Explore tab, which is currently in testing, and presents tweets in a more TikTok-like full-screen, vertical scrolling format.
The benefit of having captions available in this format is that it will enable users to engage more types of content. While the majority of Twitter’s regular feed is primarily focused on text, this updated format is more visually aligned, and captions could play a key role in matching evolving engagement behaviors in this respect.
It’s a good addition, and one that will have a significant impact for many users. Another key potential benefit could be in categorization and data, with Twitter able to use auto-generated captions as means of understanding engagement behaviors, and providing more insight into user interests.
Twitter hasn’t indicated that this will be a use case for captions as yet, but the expanded considerations could also be of benefit.
As Twitter notes, auto captions will now show on muted videos on iOS and Android, while you can also tap the ‘CC’ button on desktop to view auto caption text. You can read more about Twitter’s various auto-caption tools here.