Facebook has come a long way since its inception in 2009. The social media giant has been continuously improving and bettering itself with new and interesting features added every now and then. One such feature which has been recently introduced is ‘Facial recognition’. This is great in the sense that it uses artificial intelligence to ascertain who is present in the photos by analyzing facial features and suggesting the same to users.
How this will help?
This feature proves to be of great help to blind users of Facebook as it enhances their social media experience. Though, Facebook is updating its features to assist the visually challenged this was not the case when the site was initially launched. At that time, the mere act of looking up your friends from friend list was a challenging experience for the blind sighted.
But now things are different, all thanks to the alt text tool which tells visually challenged who is present in their photos. Prior to this when the alt text tool was hovered over an image it simply said ‘photo’ rather than identifying the individual. This tool uses this technique to describe scenery, people, animals, etc. for the visually impaired. In order to avoid any inaccuracy, the faces are compared with profile pictures of users and other photos they are tagged in. Only after undergoing a threshold check photos are labelled to a particular person.
Facebook has a dedicated accessibility team whose main goal is to have equally satisfying visual experience for the blind sighted users. Prior to this, such users had difficulty in understanding the conversations that revolved around such pictures. Now there would be a sense of inclusion and they could also be part of such discussions. This move has received accolades from blind sighted people as they cannot describe the joy of such amazing use of technology assisting them on a social media platform.
Other tests going on
Besides this, Facebook is also testing methods to form actual sentences in photo descriptions rather than just tagging places and people. Thus, soon it may become a reality that Facebook assists blind users by informing them about the actions that are taking place in photos. Soon , there will be answers to questions like what a person is wearing in the photo and how has his hair been done. Though all this requires a lot of work and poses a big challenge for the Facebook team, they are working to bring such changes to delight the blind users.
For the sighted, this feature will be used to notify them when someone has posted a picture of them without tagging them so they can request the person to take it down if they don’t want it to be shared. However, the right to take down the photo would always rest with the person uploading it.
Facebook plans to tackle security and privacy issues by giving users the option to choose facial recognition feature for their profile or not. Thus, it can be seen as a welcome change not only for the blind sighted but for everyone out there on Facebook.