Instagram has just rolled out a new automatic captioning feature for Stories. Good news: it does not censor the phrase “Asian women.”
Rolled out to users on Tuesday, Instagram had been testing the new accessibility feature since at least March. To use it, you simply have to record a Story (or select a video from your camera roll), hit the Stickers icon, then select the Captions sticker. Instagram will then automatically transcribe your audio, displaying it in animated text across your screen.
The feature is only available in a few countries and currently restricted to English, with Mashable producing unintelligible results when speaking Malay. However, Instagram intends to introduce additional languages and roll out in more countries soon. It also plans to begin testing the feature in Reels.
“We introduced captions to Threads, and IGTV, and are excited to add these to Stories and Reels, and hopefully make them more efficient, inclusive and easier for everyone to watch and understand,” Instagram said in its announcement.
Instagram currently offers four different caption font styles to choose from — which are essentially the same as the lyrics animation options when you add Music stickers — allowing you to maintain your aesthetic while still being accessible to people who are deaf or hard of hearing. You can also resize the captions and reposition them on the screen, so they won’t obscure anything you don’t want them to.
The new feature censors naughty words such as the F word, the A word, the B word, the C word, and various variations thereof. In fact, in addition to completely obscuring these bad words with innocent symbols, Instagram will further bleep out the sound of you saying them.
“We understand the impact that offensive, derogatory language can have on people and think nobody should have that experience on Instagram,” an Instagram spokesperson told Mashable. “That’s why we use AI to detect this sort of language and actively block from captions. We do this across a range of features on Instagram like comment controls and hidden words, which automatically hide a list of offensive words.”
However, if you feel the world would benefit from your raw, unfiltered vocabulary, you can manually edit the captions to type out your expletives instead. Doing so will un-bleep your voice, so your audience can really appreciate your emphasis. You can also change the captions to replace totally innocent words with symbols, which will cause Instagram to bleep out the corresponding sound as well.
There is definitely some potential there.