Instagram has launched auto-generated captions for the videos in users' feeds. Instagram head Adam Mosseri said on Tuesday that the captions feature has been “a long time coming”. The photo-sharing app is also making encrypted one-to-one chats available to all adults in both Ukraine and Russia. This comes as part of a series of measures that Meta, previously Facebook, is taking in response to the conflict in Ukraine.
The automated captions on Instagram will be on by default for creators on the platform. Up until now, creators had to manually add captions to their videos — a relatively exhausting and time-consuming process. The introduction of automated captions makes the process smooth along with making Instagram more inclusive for hearing challenged users. It will also be now easier to watch Instagram videos on mute. While auto captions are turned on by default, users will have the option to turn them on or off via Advanced Settings > Accessibility > Show Captions, as well as via Manage Captions in the menu of an individual video.
The company expects the quality of the captions to improve with usage as the AI learns. As of now, the Instagram's auto-generated video captions will be available in 17 languages at launch, with support for more languages to be added. Instagram confirmed to TechCrunch that the languages include Hindi, English, Arabic, French, German, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Malay, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Tagalog, Thai, Turkish, Urdu, and Vietnamese.
Instagram's rival TikTok had introduced automated captions in April last year where the captions were on by default for its creators. It is yet to be determined if the new feature will bring an increase in user engagement on Instagram.
The Menlo Park-based social media platform has also announced that it is making encrypted one-to-one chats in Instagram available to all adults in both Ukraine and Russia. The new measure comes as part of series of actions that Meta is taking in response to the conflict in Ukraine including restricting state media and increased efforts around fact-checking.
The decision to rollout end-to-end encryption on Instagram in both the countries comes as even Russian activists speaking out against the war could also be at risk without the feature.
Instagram users in these countries will be alerted to the option with a notification that'll appear at the top of their direct messages inbox. The notification will inform them that they can switch over to an encrypted conversion if they choose. "This update is not available to business accounts on Instagram," the blog post adds.
Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp already offered end-to-end encryption. Default end-to-end encryption will fully rollout on Messenger only by sometime in 2023 while the feature is default in WhatsApp. Meta fully rolled out end-to-end encrypted group chats and calls in Messenger back in January.
“Ordinary Russians are using Meta's apps to express themselves and organise for action. We want them to continue to make their voices heard, share what's happening, and organise through Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, and Messenger,” said Nick Clegg, Meta's president of global affairs.
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