Social media goes all-inclusive.
Over the last 12 months, conversations around diversity, inclusion and accessibility have become part of the public discourse, and with good reason.
Here, we examine some of the ways in which social media platforms are empowering users to make their content and profiles more inclusive.
Tip #1: Add Subtitles to Videos
By popular demand, Facebook and Instagram released a new accessibility feature in September 2020 that automatically adds captions to IGTV videos, and Facebook Live Streams in 16 languages. This feature was recently expanded to include Instagram Reels and Stories.
Sound off 🗣
…with sound off 🔇
Now you can add a captions sticker in Stories (coming soon to Reels) that automatically turns what you say into text.
We’re starting in a handful of countries and hope to expand soon. pic.twitter.com/OAJjmFcx4R
— Instagram (@instagram) May 4, 2021
To add captions to your Instagram IGTV videos, first upload your video. Once it has uploaded, tap on “Advanced Settings” at the bottom of your screen. Turn on “Auto-Generated Captions” and tap “Done”.
Photo courtesy of Later Media
Hot on Facebook’s heels, TikTok introduced auto-captions to videos in April, allowing viewers to read the content they’re watching, rather than listen. TikTok has been widely recognized by the hearing impaired community online for the steps they have taken to be more inclusive, after a huge demand of inclusive features from popular users across the app.
We're working to make TikTok more accessible and inclusive to support our diverse community and today we're announcing auto captions in the US, to help deaf or hard of hearing users enjoy our platform. Learn more on our Newsroom. https://t.co/zS16C4IpVz
— TikTokComms (@TikTokComms) April 6, 2021
To add captions to your TikTok videos, record your video and tap the red check mark to move to the video editing space. Click on the “Captions” symbol on the right side of the screen, and the app will prompt you to turn on auto captions. This will automatically add captions to the video you just made.
Photo courtesy of TikTok Newsroom
Tip #2: Use Alt-text Descriptions in Instagram, and Facebook posts
Ever wonder what the alt-text feature is meant for? It’s a description of the content users post on social media, that allows screen readers to describe photos to blind or visually impaired users.
Molly Burk is a YouTuber, digital creator and advocate for accessibility who uses her platforms to help raise awareness and educate others on the everyday challenges she faces as a blind person. Instagram and Facebook adding alt-text features to their platforms is a huge accessibility boost for the blind community, because it allows them to use social media in a way that works for them.
To add alt-text captions to your posts on Instagram, go to your post, tap the three dots in the top right corner, tap ‘Edit’, and on the bottom right of your images you will see the option to “Edit Alt-Text’.
On Facebook, tap on the photo you’ve already posted to your timeline, tap the three dots on the top right corner, tap ‘Edit’, and a window will pop up allowing you to edit the automatic Alt-Text or create your own.
Tip #3: Add Your Pronouns to your Social Media Bio
Instagram recently introduced features to their platforms that allows users to add up to 4 pronouns to their profiles, and edit or remove them at any time. You can also choose to display pronouns to only people who follow you.
Adding pronouns to your social media bio goes beyond trans and non-binary equality – it normalizes discussions about gender, and is an important step towards inclusivity.
Since Instagram has implemented this change, LinkedIn and Pinterest have also added a dedicated field for users to add their preferred pronouns. Similarly to Instagram, users will have the option to share it publicly, or limit the visibility to first-degree connections.
To add pronouns to your profile on Instagram, LinkedIn and Pinterest, simply tap on “Edit Profile” and you will immediately see the field where you can add them.