Twitter has apologized for launching the audio tweets without being adapted for users with hearing disabilities and has pointed out in a tweet published in its official account on the social network that it has already solved a large part of the problems and that it will work to solve the rest. soon as possible.
As the company has recognized, they have already introduced improvements that make voice tweets recognizable for deaf or hard of hearing people and these will come in the next update of the Twitter application for iOS. He also states that he is already working to develop the best way to add captioned transcripts to the content of messages automatically, and to allow them to be done manually as well.
We're sorry about testing voice Tweets without support for people who are visually impaired, deaf, or hard of hearing. It was a miss to introduce this experiment without this support.
Accessibility should not be an afterthought. (1/3) https://t.co/9GRWaHU6fR
– Twitter Support (@TwitterSupport) June 19, 2020
In the last message of the thread, Twitter also recognizes that it will create a work team so that company employees can dedicate themselves exclusively to developing these improvements and others so that all of their products are more accessible to people with disabilities.
The company makes this decision after learning that it does not have specific personnel dedicated to solving the platform's accessibility problems, but for the moment it depends on its employees working voluntarily to discover and solve the problems that may arise when developing new functionalities.
It was a software engineer from the company, Andrew Hayward, who recognized yesterday in a tweet that the firm did not have a team of workers dedicated to solving these types of problems, but that it is the employees themselves who, on a voluntary basis , are dedicated to finding and solving these problems:
For what its worth, we didn't – we're as frustrated and disappointed as the rest of the community.
– Andrew Hayward (⌀4.5m) (@arhayward) June 18, 2020
Hayward was responding to criticism from Liam O'Dell, a deaf journalist who had posted a tweet on the platform, criticizing that the new voice tweets did not offer any kind of subtitles, allowing deaf people to understand their content and noted that this lack of accessibility, excluded all hearing impaired people. From Twitter, they answered that the voice tweets are in an early version of tests and that they were working on possible improvements.
To add to the above: if any tech journalists are looking to speak to a #deaf activist or commission a more in-depth piece about why @ Twitter's latest audio feature in its current state is a bad thing in terms of accessibility, my DMs are open. 👋
– Liam O'Dell (@LiamODellUK) June 17, 2020
Interestingly, other applications with audiovisual functions similar to those of Twitter, such as YouTube, Facebook Videos, Zoom or Snapchat Discover Videos, already have accessibility tools for deaf people and allow to place subtitles manually and automatically, so it is strange that Twitter launched – even if it was in the testing phase – voice tweets without this function and, above all, that it did not have a team of workers in charge of it.
Voice tweets allow users to record and send 140-second audio messages. For now, the functionality is only available only to a limited group of people and only for iOS users, but Twitter has confirmed that in the coming weeks all iOS devices will be able to tweet by voice. Later they will come to Android. Of course, all Twitter users can see and hear them, as well as respond and interact with them. In this video we tell you how you can create your voice audios on Twitter: