Facebook excludes Deaf and hearing impaired by not supporting captioning

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Monday, 4 July 2011 16:43pm

The announcement that the Warner Bros. web series Aim High will be aired exclusively via Facebook video has sparked a new fight to get Facebook video to support closed captions.

The current lack of support for closed captions on Facebook means that people who are Deaf and hearing impaired are being excluded from watching any online videos using Facebook. Support for closed captions on social media platforms like Facebook is becoming increasingly important as web series produced exclusively for online media become more prevalent among big entertainment companies

Although the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010 requires all captioned television programs to be captioned when delivered online, it does not require original web series to include captions. As a result, people who are Deaf or hearing impaired may be left out of new online television.

Deaf advocates and consumer rights activists have been campaigning for online media platforms to include captioning support for online video content with some success. In May this year, Netflix added captions to their iOS app and only a week ago Blip.tv announced support for closed captions.

Neither Warner Bros. nor Facebook have replied to comments made by Deaf advocates.

Media Access Australia recently received funds for its social media accessibility project, which will provide practical resources for people with disabilities on how to overcome accessibility issues with social media and effectively use social media for a variety of purposes.

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