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Instagram Launches AI Descriptions of Photos for the Visually Impaired

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Instagram is taking a step toward being more accessible by adding auto and manual descriptions of photos for visually impaired users.

“We are introducing two new improvements to make it easier for people with visual impairments to use Instagram,” Instagram writes. “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.”

First, there’s a new AI system that will automatically generate descriptions of photos through screen readers when visually impaired users are browsing the Feed, Explore, and Profile sections of the app. The feature uses object recognition technology that studies each photo and comes up with a list of recognized items in the image.

If you’d like more control over what the descriptions of your photos are, the Instagram all now lets you add custom alternative text as well. In Advanced Settings when posting a new photo, there’s a new option called Write Alt Text.

This lets you provide a richer description than what the AI is currently capable of creating.

“These are just first steps toward creating a more accessible Instagram,” the Facebook-owned company says.

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