Facebook uses clever AI that will make images more accessible for the blind

With infinite streams of visual content dominating the majority of social platforms, we are all more than aware of the highly visual nature of online communications. However, this can often leave the visually impaired marginalised from the online experience.

Facebook wants to change this. In an effort to help the blind community, the social media giant has launched a tool that will help the visually impaired to enjoy photos shared within the platform.

The feature, now available to all, is trained to recognise and identify a variety of objects within photos. Each image is analysed and automatically translated by Facebook’s AI into a rich audio description of the image – also known as “Automatic alternative text”, or “automatic alt text”.

Previously, if a blind user came across an image whilst navigating their newsfeed via a screen reader, the description would be minimal, merely reading the text within the update, the name of the person sharing that update, simply followed by “photo”.

With automatic alternative text the user may now hear:

“Image may contain:  two people, smiling, sunglasses, sky, outdoor, water”.

If this image description is read against the caption: “We finally made it!”, the user is able to obtain a much richer understanding of the story.

The rationale behind using the phrase “image may contain”

Facebook cannot guarantee 100% accuracy of the audio description. If Facebook isn’t 80% certain of how to tag an image, it will not suggest a description.

At present, the feature only exists in iOS, and is available for English language users within the US, UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

If you would like to learn more about Facebook’s automatic alternative text, check out the video below:

Latest Posts

The demand for visually captivating video content is higher than ever. Marketers need to produce eye-catching visuals quickly and efficiently, fortunately, advancements in mobile technology have made this possible to happen from devices that fit in our pockets. In this realm CapCut has emerged as a game-changer, empowering marketers to…
Read More
Stay updated with the constantly evolving world of social media. Discover the latest highlights here: WhatsApp adds new status colours and fonts WhatsApp has introduced new creative features for its “Status” option, offering more ways to personalise your temporary updates.   Read more here. TikTok launches program to…
Read More
While social media platforms offer unparalleled reach and engagement, they also expose companies to the scrutiny of a sometimes very unforgiving global audience. What happens when a brand’s reputation takes a hit? Let’s explore simple strategies for brand restoration in 10 easy steps. Start with Honesty: Brands are like relationships;…
Read More