Disabled TikTokers demand captions as the app is still inaccessible to them


Disabled content creators have today called for TikTok to add automatic captions, after the social media platform is yet to introduce a feature which makes videos accessible to deaf users.

Users currently have to download additional applications to add captions to videos – a solution which has been described as a “bandaid” by campaigners.

 In a video explaining the call-to-action, organiser Madison Zalopany says: “If you are disabled, deaf, or a disability ally, by now you know that TikTok needs auto-captioning. Frankly, it’s egregious that it doesn’t.

“What can we do about it? Demand that auto captions are generated when you create a video, that we are able to edit those auto-captions for accuracy, and that viewers can toggle them on and off in their videos.”

Automatic captions use speech recognition software to transcribe audio, reducing the need for creators to type out what they have said themselves.

While the app does allow individuals to add text to their clips, Zalopany told indy100 that the current process of adding captions is “downright terrible”.

“The process is needlessly difficult. You cannot pause or rewind the video, so it's difficult to remember what exactly was said, then you have to try to time code it accurately. 

“If you have errors, it's annoying to edit because you have to wait for the video to loop back around. 

“Heaven forbid you want to change a portion of the video once the captions are set, because that will erase all the work you put into captioning the video,” she said.

Other creators have since used the call-to-action to vent their frustration at the current situation, with the hashtag #CaptionsForTikTok receiving over 800,000 views at the time of writing.

“Last year I spent over $50 to buy a captions app that didn’t really work, and in the meantime the multi-billion dollar corporation that owns this app hasn’t even tried,” sang one user.

 “It’s honestly embarrassing that the app does not have this functionality yet,” said another.

It isn’t the first time TikTok has been asked about plans to introduce captions on the mobile app, with the app telling TechRadar in December that their goal is to be “the most accessible online platform”, but making no announcement on whether they planned to add such a feature. 

“We have rolled out a number of features designed to improve accessibility and inclusivity, including our new 'text-to-speech' feature while means creators can set their text to be read out when people view their TikTok,” they said.

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