Facebook adds automatic image description service for uploaded images

Facebook adds automatic image description service for uploaded images

The social networking site Facebook has 1.6 billion monthly users and the company wants to increase the number of its users. To further bolster user activity, Facebook has launched a feature that automatically describes the contents of photos. This feature will help the blind people worldwide who want to use the social site. There are around 39 million blind people in the world who can help the social giant to increase its users list.

Matt King, a member of the accessibility team, said, “You used to hear file names, and you didn’t know if they were clickable. It was a big Easter Egg hunt — and it wasn’t any fun at all. Even when I found the eggs, a lot of the eggs were photos.”

“People talk in pictures, and talking in pictures is inherently out of reach for me. We don’t want to add a lot of friction," King says. "We could probably require people when they upload a photo: ‘please describe this for blind people.’ It would drive people nuts — that would never work at scale.”

At this stage, automatic alt tags represent a fascinating demonstration of technology. But at scale, they could also represent a growth opportunity — people with disabilities have been less likely to use Facebook on average, for obvious reasons.


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