YouTube has drawn online flak after its official announcement to remove community captions starting on September 28.
The hashtag #DontRemoveYoutubeCCs, in particular, trended on Twitter where many users expressed their frustration over the platform’s decision.
What are community captions?
If you’re lurking on YouTube for long hours, you might have come across plenty of videos with community captions.
Community captions or Community Contributions is a YouTube feature that allows any user to contribute translated titles, descriptions, closed captions and subtitles to a particular video. These contributions will then undergo a review before it is published by creators.
However, YouTube announced on July 31 that Community Contributions would be saying goodbye to the platform for a number of reasons.
The video-sharing platform detailed a low usage rate is the reason behind their decision to remove community captions.
In their official announcement post, YouTube also cited a growing number of reports on spam and abuse from the feature which then resulted in minimal use.
“Both creators and viewers have reported problems with the community contributions feature, including spam, abuse, and low quality submissions. As a result, the feature is rarely used with less than 0.001% of channels having published community captions (showing on less than 0.2% of watch time) in the last month. Instead, creators are using YouTube’s alternative captioning tools.”
While the feature is slated to be removed on September 28, already-published captions would still remain on their respective videos. After the said date though, contributions would no longer be available to be made.
Many users took it to Twitter to express their sentiments over YouTube’s decision, with thousands tweeting the hashtag #DontRemoveYouTubeCCs which made it a trending topic on September 7.
YouTube removing CCs would mean a large number of disadvantaged viewers are likely to miss out on a lot of videos.
For one, community captions help deaf or hearing-impaired viewers to enjoy YouTube videos where they can.
Some viewers also claim that these community captions help them better learn English as a second language, or any other foreign language available for the said video.
The hashtag #DontRemoveYouTubeCCs questions the reasoning behind removing such a feature that improves accessibility for many people with disabilities across the globe.
“YouTube removing CC is literally such a step back for those who need the assistance. Doesn’t even make sense… #DontRemoveYoutubeCCs”
“youtube is removing community captions on sept 28th. 😑 if there’s a problem with them…why not figure out how to fix it (rather than delete it)? we need *more* accessibility features for deaf, HOH, and international viewers please, not less. @TeamYouTube #DontRemoveYouTubeCCs”
“#DontRemoveYoutubeCCs So do you hate viewers like me, YouTube? I’m hard of hearing and enjoy watching some non-English videos. I don’t see how removing CC helps YouTube in anyway.”
>They help deaf people
>They help people in other languages understand the video
>Also they are sometimes the only funny thing about a video.”
In general, captions will still be made available for YouTube videos although it needs to be created by the publisher/channel itself. YouTube’s automatic caption feature will still be available to use, as well.
Given the public backlash, only time can tell if the video sharing platform will make changes to their announcement or continue to push through with the decision.