The Verge: Facebook begins using artificial intelligence to describe photos to blind users

6 April 2016

Ask a member of Facebook’s growth team what feature played the biggest role in getting the company to a billion daily users, and they’ll likely tell you it was photos. The endless stream of pictures, which users have been able to upload since 2005, a year after Facebook’s launch, makes the social network irresistible to a global audience. It’s difficult to imagine Facebook without photos. Yet for millions of blind and visually impaired people, that’s been the reality for over a decade.

Not anymore. Today (05/04/16) Facebook will begin automatically describing the content of photos to blind and visually impaired users. Called “automatic alternative text,” the feature was created by Facebook’s 5-year-old accessibility team. Led by Jeff Wieland, a former user researcher in Facebook’s product group, the team previously built closed captioning for videos and implemented an option to increase the default font size on Facebook for iOS, a feature 10 percent of Facebook users take advantage of.

For the full story please go to: Facebook Photos

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