TikTok is taking a big step toward making its app more accessible. The app is adding automatic captions, which allows video makers to automatically create subtitles for their clips. Up until now, TikTok users who wanted to make their videos more accessible had to manually type out captions, which could be a time consuming process. But with auto captions TikTok will be able to create subtitles for videos automatically. The video creator will also have the ability to fine-tune and edit the text after the fact in case adjustments are needed, and viewers will have the option to disable subtitles. While TikTok notes that captions are merely the latest accessibility feature the app has added in recent months, automatic captions could dramatically improve the experience for people who are deaf or hard of hearing (as well as anyone who likes to scroll through their feed on mute).
Alongside news that PowerPoint is getting real-time captions and subtitles in 2019, Microsoft announced similar technology is now available in Skype. Launching today to coincide with the UN International Day of Persons with Disabilities, the new feature allows those who are deaf or hard of hearing to read the words that are spoken during audio or video calls in Skype . The option is enabled in Skype's settings by selecting the more () button during the call and choosing "turn subtitles on." It can also be set as the default under Settings, the company says. Once turned on, live captions and subtitles will auto-scroll during the call, but Microsoft says it's working to offer other viewing options in the future.
Be careful before you fire up media player software to play that foreign-language movie -- it might be a way for intruders to compromise your system. Check Point researchers have discovered an exploit that uses maliciously crafted subtitles to take control of your device, whether it's a PC, phone or smart TV. It's not picky about the program, either -- the researchers demonstrated the flaw in Kodi, PopcornTime, Stremio and VLC. The technique isn't particularly complicated, and relies on a tendency by developers to assume that subtitles are little more than innocuous text files. As many media player apps download subtitles from repositories they explicitly trust, all it takes is an attacker who sneaks a malicious file into the repository in such a way that you're likely to download it.
Following some concerns that it might break some websites due to the version number, Firefox 100 has arrived. While Mozilla hasn't exactly celebrated the milestone with massive updates, there are some useful new features for both desktop and mobile. The desktop browser now has support for subtitles and captions when picture-in-picture mode is active. This is a welcome accessibility improvement for multitaskers, and one that users requested. PiP subtitles and captions will be initially available for YouTube, Netflix, Prime Video and sites that use the WebVTT format (such as Twitter and Coursera).