Instagram announces new text-to-speech features for visually impaired users

Instagram introduces its automatic alternative text and custom alternative text features with the intention to make Instagram "more accessible"


Instagram has announced that it is rolling out two new features, automatic alternative text and custom alternative text, catering for visually impaired users on the platform.

The new tool will adopt AI tech to offers users an audio description of photos and create custom descriptions.

The first feature introduced, automatic alternative text, will adopt object recognition technology to offer users an audio description of photos. The second, custom alternative text, Instagram said will offer users the ability to formulate a better-tailored description of photos when publishing content.

The new tools will be available for photos across the platform, on the user's follower feed, as their own photos and on the explore function.

"These are just first steps toward creating a more accessible Instagram," Instagram said in a blog post.

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However, the new feature comes with a certain requirement from the user, it will only be able to be leveraged through a screen reader software program, assistive technology for those who have learning disabilities such as visual or audio impairments.

"With more than 285 million people in the world who have visual impairments, we know there are many people who could benefit from a more accessible Instagram," the company reported.

The development of the new features follows the company's recently unveiled AI-powered anti-bullying feature in October and in November announced a tool to remove inauthenticity on the platform.

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