Read/Watch: Why Facebook has become so important to the Deaf community, by Charlie Swinbourne for BBC News (BSL)

Posted on January 21, 2016

Our Editor, Charlie Swinbourne, has written an article for BBC News about how important Facebook has become to the Deaf community.

The article is the first BBC News article to feature a signed translation video, from Heidi Koivisto-Robertson, and also features quotes from Deaf comedian John Smith, Jen Dodds, David Buxton and John David Walker.

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The BBC are keen to find out what Deaf readers think of having a BSL translation video – did you like it? Email them and let them know:

Read and watch the full article here:


There was a time when sign language users had to go to a local club to shoot the breeze, share advice or have any kind of conversation. It’s not as if you could just pick up the phone for a chat. Deaf clubs were a real community hub full of friends, families, board games and a barman.

In recent years, though, social media sites have started to replace the deaf club, with Facebook leading the way. Videos on newsfeed pages can be viewed for long periods and groups are easy to set up and join.

Last year, the importance of Facebook as an outlet for the sign language community was acknowledged at a high level when the Scottish Parliament set up a group on the site to gain supporting evidence for the groundbreaking British Sign Language (Scotland) Bill, which was passed in September, and aims to promote usage of the language.

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