Social Media Accessibility – Facebook

Facebook has improved its accessibility options in the past few years, making it possible to add alt text to images and to add captions to videos. Below, we provide you with step-by-step guidelines for doing both.

Alternative or Text Descriptions

Facebook has a feature that auto-generates a description of images, but it is, of course, limited by what object recognition technology can recognize about the image. The information that is auto-generated is typically very vague and sometimes inaccurate. To provide accurate descriptions, you can add your own descriptions or for images that were uploaded already, edit the automatic descriptions.

Adding Alt Text to Your Images

Upload your photo by either selecting the Photos/Videos button or dragging and dropping into the post window.

Facebook post window with photos/videos button selected

Scroll over the thumbnail of your image and select the paint brush to Edit Photo.

Edit photo selected

Select the Alt Text option to the left of the image.

Alt text option selected

Write the description of the image in the text box to the left of the image.

Alt description of image - A computer keyboard with the return key labeled with the universal symbol for access and the word accessibility

Select the Save button at the bottom right of the window.

Save button selected

Add the text that you want to add to your post and post the image.

Post with image thumbnail and text for post added

Alt Text for Your Existing Images

You probably have images that have been on your page for a while, before it was possible to add alt text. As you are able or as you re-share those, you will want to add alt text descriptions.

To do so, select the photo that you’d like to describe.

Photo of Little Rock skyline from UA Partners FB page is selected

Select the Options link at the bottom right of the photo.

Small pointing finger icon hovers over options link

From the menu that appears, select Change Alt Text.

The small finger pointing icon hovers over Change Alt Text on the menu

The Change Alt Text box will appear that shows the automatically generated alt text. Select the Override generated alt text button.

Small pointing finger icon hovers over override generated alt text button in change alt text box

This will open a text field where you can type your own alt text description.

An empty text box is present below the generated text. The generated text reads sky, cloud, bridge, outdoor, water and nature.

Type the description of your photo and then select Save.

Box now has alt text that reads Little Rock skyline at sunset, pink, purple and orange clouds reflect in Arkansas river

Your new alt text is now accessible to those using a screen reader to access your page.

Describing Images from Other Sources

Part of the power of social media is in sharing things from others in your network. Unfortunately, not everyone will take the time to make the images they post accessible. If you are sharing an image posted by someone else, you cannot add alt text to the image itself. The only option is to add a description in the post or comments. Below are some options for managing this.

A Photo Posted by Someone Else

When sharing an image posted by someone else, you first want to determine if it does or does not have an accurate description. You can use a variety of tools to check this. We’ll add a tutorial on this soon. If it does not, or if you are unsure, just sharing the post and add a description in the post or add “Description in comments” and add a description of the image in the first comment. Below are a couple of examples.

A facebook post is shared from one another page and described in post by the person sharing it, description reads Poster description: Let’s not give our kids the message that there’s a difference between being nice to a typical persona and a disabled person. That the latter makes them somehow a hero while the first is expected as the norm

An Article with a Link Preview Image

When you paste a link to an article on your page, there is often an image that appears along with the link. There is not a way to add hidden alt text for these images. To make those accessible, add text that says “Link preview description:” followed by the description of the image. Here is an example.

A link to an article called The Disabled List is shared to UA Partners for Inclusive Communities page. The image is described as "Link Preview: A stylishly dressed woman using a walker hails a cab on a city street.

Captioning Videos on Facebook

Uploaded Facebook Videos

Coming soon.

Facebook LIVE Videos

It is now possible to caption Facebook LIVE broadcasts. For most people this will involve contracting with a third party provider to configure and live stream the captions. Information about how this is achieved is available on the Facebook site here: Enabling Closed Captions on Facebook Live Broadcasts

Facebook LIVE Video Replays

Facebook LIVE videos can be captioned after the fact if they are on a business page (not on personal pages). Details will be posted soon.

This tutorial has been developed through a cooperative agreement with Arkansas iCAN through a project focused on Increasing Digital Access in Arkansas.