Video platform YouTube have announced they plan to discontinue the community captions feature, which allowed viewers to add subtitles to videos. Citing that the platform was “rarely used and had problems with spam/abuse,” the company announced it’s removing the captions and will “focus on other creator tools.” The feature will be removed as of September 28th.
“You can still use your own captions, automatic captions and third-party tools and services,” YouTube said in an update on its help page.
However Deaf creators are concerned that this move will limit accessibility on the platform. Jessica Kellgren-Fozard (@JessicaOOTC), a disability rights activist, tweeted “Really sad to see Community Captions being axed from YouTube. The tool helped me a lot when I was a small creator..”
Other YouTubers are also concerned the feature will limit accessibility to videos in other languages.
At the Deaf Academy, we are aware how much our young people rely on YouTube, whether to help with their learning, to communicate with others, or for leisure time. Without the community captions contribution, many Deaf people will become reliant on video creators to include captions.
As much as we hope they will, we are aware that captioning takes time and many creators will not be willing to do this.
If you have a spare minute, please sign the petition below to request YouTube to reverse their decision to remove community captions: