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Twitter’s latest Audio Tweet feature exposes a lack of dedication for people with disability

I previously wrote about the new Twitter feature where the social media platform is testing ‘voice Tweets’, with only a handful of people having access to it for now. However, people are also pointing out that the feature isn’t accessible for deaf users as there are no captions—which led to a reveal of a lack of dedicated employees for accessibility issues.

Twitter has been receiving complaints for the lack of captions in their audio tweet feature. A UK-based deaf journalist Liam O’Dell tweeted that he worries if Audio Tweets become a prominent feature, as deaf users will be left out.

“Accessibility should be considered from the start, not as an afterthought,” said O’Dell.

Other commenters pointed out that other social platforms, like YouTube and Facebook videos, all offer captioning. In response to this, Twitter stated that they are “working on improving its accessibility review and exploring the possibility of building that more dedicated group to focus on the problem”.

In a Tweet thread by Twitter software engineer Andrew Hayward, it was revealed that there is a lack of a dedicated team for accessibility issues.

Hayward said ‘volunteers’ are behind accessibility issues on Twitter. After the Tweet gained attention, he clarified that ‘volunteers’ help with accessibility issues on top of their full-time jobs at the company.

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“We are all otherwise paid employees—Twitter is not outsourcing unpaid labour!” Hayward wrote.

The Tweet thread launched several comments, including “it is technically still unpaid labor” and “that is absolutely unconscionable for a platform of this size and scale”.

Dantley Davis, the company’s Head of Design and Research, publicly stated that he will advocate for accessibility to be a part of product design from the beginning in the future.


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Dzamira Dzafri