Facebook launches new features for blind users

- Facebook can be frustrating if you can't see it, so the social media giant developed a new technology aimed at helping the blind have a better experience. 

Tampa resident and grandmother, Ana Garcia was born legally blind, and relies on a voice program to read online content. Like everyone who uses the site, Garcia said she loves being able to get updates from family, but it's not always easy for her.

"You want to be able to see your grandkids, your kids, and whatever they post on there, and you're not able to," she explained. "I have to get up close," she said. "I have to use magnifiers."

Starting Tuesday, however, Facebook will interpret what's in photos by recognizing faces, common objects, sunsets or foods. When a user clicks on an image, they'll get Facebook's version of what it contains.

Facebook says more than 2 billion pictures are uploaded to its platform per day, adding a new feature to a wide range of content. 

FOX 13 News listened as Ana clicked on a photo of two people and Facebook told her that one of them is a baby, and that one of them has a beard.

"It describes it for you," she said. "That's exciting."

The descriptions are limited to 100 words, but Facebook has plans to expand the descriptions as it develops the technology. 

"If Facebook is doing it, that will encourage other software developers to do it as well," said Chelsea Bridges. "They have opened the door."

Twitter is also letting users add long descriptions to pictures that visually impaired users can listen to.

"When you see the pictures, you can reply," she said.

For now, the feature is only available for iPhone users. 


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