Community captions – when users upload subtitles to other people’s videos – are being removed from the platform.
The British Deaf Association and Action on Hearing Loss say YouTube should engage with the deaf community on the decision.
YouTube says the feature is hardly used and is open to abuse or spam.
The hashtag #DontRemoveYoutubeCCs trended online this week.
How does subtitling work on YouTube?
There are three main ways YouTube videos are subtitled, or captioned.
1. YouTubers can subtitle their own videos with manual captions, although many don’t do this.
2. Automatic captions are generated by speech recognition software and can sometimes be inaccurate.
3. Community captions are when fans of a channel write and upload their own subtitles to a video – either in the original language of the video or in another language.
YouTube says only a tiny percentage of videos have community captions uploaded to them, which means it’s not worth continuing with the tool.
What should BHA(WA) do about this? It is certainly an example of judging a service on its use and not its utility, which is representative of a world where sometimes we see profits are put before people. But even doing the smallest thing can help, its just a matter of deciding what that smallest thing is to be…