I’m worried about captions, and if I - as a deaf person and avid user of subtitles - am worried about captions, then you should be too. We aren’t the only people who rely on them for access to audiovisual content.
In December, I called out British YouTuber KSI
for hiding inside jokes and commentary in the captions of his videos. This shouldn’t need explaining, but accessibility tools are there to provide access, not comic relief. Our access is not your punchline.
Now, it seems captions are being used to advertise. Sure, I’ve since been informed that the captions in the above tweet were from a website which pirates movies, but it still offers an alarming glimpse into the future of captions - where they are trivialised for humour, and commercialised for advertising.
Some of this comes down to education, too. Online creators and companies are still unaware of what high quality captions look like, and what they should (and shouldn’t) contain. Similarly, many don’t bother to caption at all under the false assumption that the process takes too long - something I’ve since called ‘creator apathy’ or simply ‘crapathy’.
We need platforms to greater incentivise creators to make their content accessible.