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ATT Tool

May 19, 2016 2016-05-19

Social Media

Under the Hood

In April 2016, Facebook launched automatic alternative (alt) text (AAT), a tool for people who are blind or visually impaired to “see” images on the site. For people using screen readers to identify what’s displayed, AAT utilizes object recognition technology to generate descriptions of photos on Facebook. The object recognition powering Facebook’s alt text is based on a neural network with billions of parameters, and one that is trained with millions of examples. In Facebook’s technology for alt text, the neural network recognizes images and words in transportation (“car,” “boat,” “motorcycle,” etc.), nature (“outdoor,” “mountain,” “wave,” “sun,” “grass,” etc.), sports (“tennis,” “swimming,” “stadium,” etc.), food (“ice cream,” “sushi,” “dessert,” etc.), and appearance (“baby,” “eyeglasses,” “smiling,” “jewelry,” “selfie,” etc.). Facebook’s accessibility team led the development of the alt text tool, which is currently available for iOS screen readers set to English. Facebook will soon add the functionality to other platforms and languages.

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Blindness/Visual Disability Technology

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