Monday, May 21, 2012

The #CaptionTHIS Social Media Movement


Over the weekend, Adam Jarashow and Megan Malzkuhn launched a social media movement for online accessibility known as #captionTHIS. Their goal is to rally people to take action on June 6.

Watch the video below for more information about the cause. The video is captioned. (Go universal access!)

Support universal access by captioning your American Sign Language videos. Please visit CaptionASL for more information.

Here is a template letter for your use. Feel free to add your own thoughts but please remember to be courteous and respectful when writing to any of the companies on the list. Send your emails on Wednesday, June 6.
My name is [NAME] and I have always enjoyed visiting [NAME OF COMPANY]'s website. However, I am unable to fully access your online videos. You see, I am [DEAF/HARD OF HEARING] and I rely on your website for news but I cannot access the information because the videos are not captioned. I know I am not the only one and I strongly encourage you to caption your online videos so that I and the million of viewers with hearing loss can access your information.
Your company can also benefit from having the videos captioned. Caption files are "Google-able" and because of this, your videos are more likely to show up in search results. This means additional traffic to your website.

Please do the right thing and start providing equal access by captioning your online videos.
Thank you. 

List of companies/organizations to contact:
ABC News
Amazon (Prime)
BBC News
Comcast | Xfinity
The Food Network
Fox News
Go to, click on "About" at the bottom-right corner. Click on "Contact Us."
The Huffington Post
Inc. Magazine 
Update: invalid email address. Please use Twitter to contact Lifetime.
Logo TV 
National Public Radio (NPR)
Under the "I Want To" option, select "Contact the Ombudsman."
Call 1-866-579-7172
Click on "Other" to submit a comment.
Click on "Comment" to submit a comment.
The New York Times
Update: USA TODAY's entire feedback system is down. Please contact them via Twitter.
U.S. Department of Education
Call 1-800-872-5327 (via VRS) or 1-800-437-0833 (TTY)
The Washington Post
Update: invalid email address. Please use Twitter to contact WaPo.
On the right, you will see "Contact Us." Click on that and an online form will appear.

If you have a contact/link you'd like to add, email me and I will update the list.

You can also sign a petition to CNN here.

Questions about the movement? Do not hesitate to contact Adam.

Please share this blog post with your friends and family. The more people speak out on 6/6, the more of an impact we will make. It is time to end the oppression that denies deaf and hard of hearing people the right to access information online.

Check out the follow-up post for more action steps: #CaptionTHIS: How to Take Action on 6/6.


  1. I teach an accessibility class as part of the Rutgers University Masters of UX Design program. This video will be part of the curriculum beginning this semester. Great stuff and thanks for sharing it via YouTube.

  2. I am wondering if we should also make a list of uncaptioned clips (on internet, or shows on the television) with date, time, what channel or website. and SEND that to FCC as well as doing the above. What do you think?

  3. I strongly believe making a list of uncaptioned clips (on the Internet and TV) would take a long time, but with 1000x handpower, and we all pitch it, it would definitely be WORTH it. I also would love to invite Morgan Spurlock (of "30 Days", and "A Day In the Life") to create a show or episode (preferably a "30 Days" episode), where hearing people with no experience of the deaf culture (ideally media CEOs) live in an outfitted house with TV, Internet, phone, doorbell, etc but all with deaf technology and disabled sounds. Which means they will not be able to hear anything on the TV or Internet without the use of captions.

  4. Add Lifetime and Amazon to the list. They do not provide captioned online videos.

  5. Oops, see that Amazon is included. Don't know how I missed that.


  6. (e,

    Thank you for your suggestion! Amazon is already on the list. Now adding Lifetime.

  7. Thanks. Somehow I missed Amazon. I have emailed CNN, ABC, and CBS. Working on the emailing the rest.

    Thank you for this helpful article and list!


  8. (e,

    Thank *you* for taking action!


  9. The Section 508 Coordinator for the US Department of Education is Don Barrett. 202-453-7320 (Voice) or

  10. CCAC has international members who are asking us for information on this. FYI< we are sending them this Blog today, again posting it also on CCAC facebook timeline.
    Lauren - the place to be for captioning advocacy - in groups, there is strength

  11. Hi, just by chance we have started campaign in the UK called #subtitlesnow for same reason. The Queens' Jubillee Celebrations, Olympics and Paralympics are taking place with events across the country at open air screenings, concerts and so on. With lots of live screenings including concerts - won't be subtitled as the BBC say it's not technically possible We will be joining you on 6th June to raise awareness and demand same access to companies in the UK including The British government who never subtitle anything. We will be using #captionTHIS and #subtitlesnow and taking inspiration from your campaign. FB page is SUBTITLES NOW or more info on googling Pesky People (I can't seem to post this notice saying url illegal characters)

  12. Alison Smithy,

    That is great news! I've included some information about #subtitlesnow and @peskypeople in the most recent #captionTHIS post. Appreciate your help with the movement!

  13. Please add #captionTHIS you tube videos and etc. it s time to change it

  14. Let you know that The Weather does not have the link, Contact Us. If there is, I seem not to find it yet. Thank you.

  15. JoAnne McCainn at Us Dept of Education reported that FCC is taking care of the captioning. Not US Dept of Education... FCC is to require all those networks caption all those videos. However, FCC will mandate captioning something within a few days or weeks. Are you familiar with it?

  16. deafk,

    I've updated the link and instruction. Should work now. Thanks!

  17. deafk,

    I was not aware of that. Do you know where I can find more information on the topic?

  18. I tried to find the information... Not sure where I could find it. Say, isn't Greg Hlibok working at FCC? He could let us know what is going on with FCC and online video captioning.

  19. I believe Hulu is captioned. I'm a terp student, and one assignment I had a couple semesters back was to watch an episode of something or a movie w/o sound, only w/ captions. I watched an episode of Castle or something on Hulu w/ captions. You might want to double check in case they are getting bombarded with emails for something they have already done. I believe the CC button is in the bottom right of their media player, near the volume control. They even have options as to what kind of captions, yellow text, white text, background, no background, etc.

  20. Paul Jones,

    Not all shows/episodes/clips are captioned on Hulu.

  21. Thank you for simplifying this process!!

  22. Don't forget COMEDY CENTRAL because I so missed SOUTH PARK as I do not have digital cable anymore.. wish me luck to reach 'em.