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Accessibility Toolkit for Facebook Live

Create your own accessible Facebook Live videos using our new toolkit!

9/7/2017 4:16:27 AM

Person holding a mobile phone that is playing a captioned facebook live video.

Last week, MNIT shared a Blog Post about how the MNIT Communications Team and the Office of Accessibility worked together to create a Facebook Live experience that we could share with everyone. Today, we are pleased to announce a new accessibility toolkit geared towards creating accessible content for Facebook Live! The toolkit is meant to be a best-practices guide for agencies and organizations that would like to use Facebook Live to engage their social media audiences in new and fun ways.


Live events include Facebook Live Streams, YouTube live events…any live event which includes audio and video.

These steps are specific to Facebook Live. The general planning involved applies to any live video streaming event. Other containers, such as YouTube, present their own unique requirements.

Key things to know prior to attempting Facebook Live:

  1. Captioning the event helps ensure your audience can access the information presented.
  2. There continue to be some issues getting captions to display overtop of your live video event, such as video source restrictions, for some types of social media. In these cases, your caption service provider should be able to use a third-party service like StreamText to provide the captions in a separate window.
  3. Live streaming captions in the separate window will work while the event is in progress, but will not remain visible once the event is completed.
  4.  The captioner needs good quality audio to hear the event.
  5. Consider your internet connections and phone capabilities at the event site as part of your planning process. Connectivity can be a real challenge when off site.



  1. For outdoor events, ensure your microphone will capture well despite environmental noises, competing sounds, etc. Budget for equipment if you do not currently have what you need.
  2. Caption services:
    1.  Rehearsals – recommend two sessions if you have not done this before; at least one if you have held a successful event previously (with captions).
    2. Schedule caption services (State of MN agencies can use this CART contract service) for the event, including setup time prior to the event starting. Specify that you would like a text (txt) file as soon as possible after the event. (Typically you’d request a text file as part of the contract, but those files may be delivered between anywhere between a day to a week after the event. In this case, it is critical to request the writer send it immediately following the event.)
    3. Your agency may already have a master contract or open PO for captioning services. Check with your purchasing agent or affirmative action officer.
    4. Include info here for state employees that need to use a contract vendor?
  3. Assign a staff person back at the office to caption the posted video file – easier to do back at the office if you may have spotty internet on location.
  4. At the event, split tasks among multiple people: one to manage the video, another the CART phone call (if you use a phone), and a third to respond to comments on the feed during the event (while this person could be anywhere, on location ensures an awareness of potential issues and facts).


  1. Use a non-public account to run your testing.
  2. Mimic the environment as much as possible.
  3. Rehearse how you will alert the captioner that the event is starting and ending.
  4. Have staff monitoring the caption link on one device and the Facebook live feed on a different device to ensure everything is working during the test.
  5. Review the video for sound and video quality. Review the CART file and discuss with the captioner items that impacted the captions.
  6. Plan what the post will say and who will edit the post:
    1. As the event is beginning (include the link to captions)
    2. Once the event has concluded (include timeline of when the video will be captioned)
    3. Once the video has been captioned
  7. Ensure staff are trained on how to operate the equipment, and how to add the caption file. See "Loading CART to Facebook" below if you are planning to use the CART provider’s text file to load into Facebook (file attached, could be downloadable link, I can make a PDF once Jay and Jeremy approve steps – Jeremy followed the instructions once and can tell us if they made sense to him).

Day of Event

  1. Connect with the captioner – we chose to use a separate cell telephone as it had less delay than having the captioner waiting for the video.
  2. Test all equipment prior to event start, being aware of competing sounds in the area.
  3. Ensure person at the office receives the email from the CART provider once the event has concluded (with the TXT file).
  4. Load caption file to video and update the post text. Be sure to test the video to ensure captions are displaying properly.

Converting Txt File from CART Provider to SRT for Video Upload

Prepared by: Jennie Delisi, Accessibility Analyst (MNIT) and Jeremy DePew, Marketing Communications Specialist (MNIT)

Txt File from CART Provider

  1. The CART provider will email a txt file. Open with Notepad. You can edit this file and keep the emailed version as a backup, or open and save a backup copy prior to editing.
  2. If the file added extra blank spaces at the end of the text, remove those. 

Edit the Txt File 

  1. Go to the top of the file (CTRL + Home). 
  2. Remove any >> and the extra line between text; while also correcting misspellings and chunking information into up to 2 line groupings. As much as possible, try to keep phrases and sentences together. Follow good captioning practices such as those included in Captioning Key. Add a line break between groupings using the ENTER key. 
  3. At the top of the file, add the following:
    • 1    00:00:00,000 --> 00:00:00,000

Adding the Timing

  1. Copy the 1 and time stamping from the top of your file. You will paste this into your file at the beginning of each grouping, keeping a space between each grouping.
  2. Using a digital stop watch, start the video and watch the first sentence. 
  3. Pause the stop watch and the video once your first text grouping is done.
  4. Record the time of the start and end of that grouping. 
  5. For the next grouping, paste what is in your clipboard (number and time) remembering to keep a space between this and the last text group. 
  6. Resume the movie and the stop watch, pausing once the next grouping is done.
  7. Repeat steps 4-6 until you have all the timings added into your txt file. 
Example of Groupings with Time Stamp
  • 00:00:00,000 --> 00:00:04,440 (Jenna) Hello to everyone tuning in to MNIT’s first-ever Facebook Live text.
  • 00:00:04,440 --> 00:00:06,570 My name is Jenna Covey, the Chief Digital Officer and Assistant Commissioner at MNIT Services. 
Save a Copy of Your Txt File as a Txt File! 

In case you need to go back and edit your text file later, be sure to keep a copy as a txt file. 

Save a Copy as an SRT File

SRT is the file type accepted by Facebook for loading captions. To do this: 

  1. Go to File – Save.
  2. Under “File Name,” type the name of your transcript using “” at the end.
  3. Under “Save as type:” select “All Files.” 
  4. Select Save. 

Upload SRT File to Facebook 

For Videos on a Person’s Page (adapted from 3Play Media instructions online) 
  1. In your timeline, go to your videos. 
  2. For the specific video, hover with the mouse and select the pencil, or tab to the “edit or remove” option inside the thumbnail for that video, and select edit or remove – edit this video. 
  3. If the description for the post is specific to the Live event, update the post. 
  4. In the Captions grouping, select Choose File, and upload your SRT file. 
  5. Select Save. 
For Videos on a Business Page 
  1. Go to your video library. 
  2. For the specific video, select the pencil / “edit video”. 
  3. Select 2nd tab “captions.” 
  4. If the description for the post is specific to the Live event, update the post.
  5. Select Choose File, and upload your SRT file. 
  6. Select Save. 


  1. Go to your feed, and if the captions are not automatically displaying when the video is playing, go to the gear/tools in the video player and select captions. 
  2. If the captions are displaying, watch to verify the captions are correctly timed and there are no spelling errors.
  3. Troubleshoot if the captions are not displaying or they are not displaying correctly.
    • Example: if you are seeing strange timings in your captions, go back to your TXT file and verify you have a start and end time for each grouping and that they are correct.


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