Facebook begins using artificial intelligence to describe photos to blind users

(Facebook accessibility team members (l-r) Matt King, Jeff Wieland, and Shaomei Wu / Facebook) Tweet Share 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 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…


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