Facebook has made headlines again this year when they announced they are working on a new tool that will help the blind ‘see’ images on Facebook.

Facebook has grown to one of the largest social networking platforms of our time.
A big part of this involves sharing photos, and this is where those with visual disabilities fall short of experiencing all Facebook have to offer.
Facebook’s accessibility team, headed by Jeff Wieland, has made it their mission to help those with disabilities gain the full Facebook experience.
How things are now The blind and visually impaired can listen to what people are writing on Facebook with the help of screen readers. These tools identify what is displayed on screen and reads it aloud. However, they do not have a clue what’s happening on the hundreds of images people share every day. For example, they will only hear the caption,First day on holiday! Already having fun, without knowing what’s on the photo or what people are commenting on.

What Facebook is working on It all started with one man. Matt King is Facebook’s first blind engineer who currently navigates Facebook with a screen reader.

This has sparked the interest in designing a tool to help the blind better understand the images. This AI-based object recognition tool will read out what is on the image.

To keep with the aforementioned example, say the person have shared a photo of the sunset on a beach, this new tool will read, this image may contain colon beach, sunset, ocean, horizon. You can imagine how much something a simple as this will help a blind man/woman understand what everyone is commenting on. Looking towards the future The tool is not one hundred percent yet as the team wants to make sure that, the tool conveys an accurate description of the image. They will certainly continue investing in artificial intelligence and they are optimistic to release the tool in a relatively short term. In an interview with TechCrunch, Matt King told them, “That’s a huge jump, and it’s only going to get better from here. I personally find Facebook’s willingness to invest in ways like that just really powerful and exciting, and just one more way to make connecting people with disabilities a great experience.” Thanks to Facebook, even more people will be able to see and understand what your business shares on its social media platforms.

Now, it is up to ATKA SA to make sure that what we share on your social media platforms is nothing short of excellent. Contact us at info@atkatemp.co.za for more information.