Social Media Accessibility
Various social media platforms provide built-in ways to make your posts more accessible to the visually and/or audibly impaired.
In 2016 Twitter created a feature that allows users to add captions to images that are tweeted. However, users must manually enable the feature. Here is how to turn on the image caption feature:
When logged into your account, click “settings and privacy.” Click “Accessibility” and toggle on “Compose image descriptions.”
By toggling on “compose image descriptions,” users have the ability to describe images for the visually impaired.
Once a user turns on this feature, each time a user uploads any image to Twitter the user will have the opportunity to click “add description” on the image. Users can add a description, also known as alt text, to images on desktop (Twitter.com) and Twitter’s mobile app. The feature is not available on third-party apps like Tweetdeck or Hootsuite.
For videos, Twitter does not provide a way for users to add captions after a video is posted. However, users can add a description (200-character limit) of a video. Upload a video directly to Twitter using either Twitter.com on desktop or studio.twitter.com. Once the video is uploaded, users can type in a video description. On studio.twitter.com, a user can click “Subtitles” and add an .SRT file. Please note this functionality is only available to users on Twitter.com desktop and studio.twitter.com. It is not available on Twitter’s mobile app or any third-party app.
Add captions to all videos posted natively to Facebook. Here is how: once a user uploads a video directly to Facebook and publishes it, click “Edit Video.” Then click “Captions.”
Once a user clicks “Captions,” here are two ways in which to add captions. The first is by uploading an .SRT file that a user must generate (can use Notepad on PC or TextEdit on Mac). The second is by clicking “Generate.” Facebook will then generate captions for the user. However, many times the captions will be incorrect and will require manual editing. When finished editing, click “Save” at the bottom. The video will now have captions.
Even if users cannot provide captions during Facebook Live videos, once the video is archived users can follow the same instructions for generating captions. Simply click “Edit video” and generate and edit captions.
Another way to ensure accessibility on Facebook is by adding descriptive text to all posted images. When users upload two or more photos in a Facebook post (including a photo gallery), it is imperative that users click “Add a description” and provide alt text of each image.
It is imperative to add a caption to each Instagram post to ensure accessibility. The character limit on Instagram captions is 2,200, so there is ample space to describe the image or video uploaded by the user. However, it is best practice to be as concise as possible, so users should keep that mind.
Similar to Facebook, YouTube provides automatic captioning for uploaded videos that are less than 10 minutes in length. However, it is imperative users edit captions after using this feature because, like Facebook, the captions are often incorrect. In addition, users can upload an .SRT file to add captions to YouTube videos. Once logged into the YouTube account, users click Creator Studio > Video Manager > Videos. Find the correct video and click “Edit.” Select “Subtitles/CC” and click “Add new subtitles or CC” button.
If you have any questions or concerns with accessibility in social media, please contact social media team members within the LSU Division of Strategic Communications.