Chrissy Marshall has spent hours and hours scrolling through TikTok videos, deliberately liking and commenting on videos from other deaf creators and clips with small text bubbles. The 21-year-old is trying to train the app to only show her videos with captions or that use American Sign Language.
It’s mostly working. Her TikTok homepage is so curated that Marshall, who has 1.2 million followers on her account ChrissyCantHearYou, only has to skip past about one in 10 videos.
“It really depends on who you are following and how you force the algorithm to work,” she said.
This isn’t an easy feat. TikTok, by design, is a place for millions of people to upload their own videos, without any requirement or even official suggestion to use captions. Videos include people dancing to music, ranting about their jobs, showing off new recipes and lip-syncing to the soundtrack of TV shows such as “The Office” or “Keeping Up With the Kardashians.” Even if users want to caption their videos, TikTok’s app doesn’t have a way to automatically recognize voice patterns and automate text to use.
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