Each and every day, says Facebook, over 2 billion people share photos over various social media platforms. Children's photos, videos of dogs, funny memes, and more visit computer, phone, and tablet screens -- often finding their way to still more devices once seen, appreciated, and shared.
But given the vast millions of users who might be blind -- Facebook says that there are 39 million blind people and 246 million more who have a serious visual impairment -- not all who could enjoy those visual delights actually are. In order to better include those users in the visual sharing experience, Facebook is implementing technology that will help blind users enjoy social media the same way others already do.
The solution: automatic alternative text, aka automatic alt text, described by the company as "a new development that generates a description of a photo using advancements in object recognition technology."
The chief of Facebook's analytics group recently confirmed that the social networker is testing software that can track the smallest of user interactions from the moment someone signs on. That includes where you place your cursor -- and for how long -- while on the site.
Ken Rudin, the analytics honcho, told the Wall Street Journal in an interview that the collected information could be used for anything from better targeting of certain ads to product development.
Facebook, the Journal goes on to report, collects both demographic and behavioral data. The new software and other tech being tested are intended to expand the kinds of behavioral data that is gathered. Those include “did your cursor hover over that ad … and was the newsfeed in a viewable area,” Rudin told the Journal. “It is a never-ending phase. I can’t promise that it will roll out. We probably will know in a couple of months.”
For a while, Instagram seemed to be the darling of the social media world, with younger users flocking to the site to post pictures of their every waking move. Then came Vine.
Owned by Twitter, Vine is a video-sharing social media site that allows users to easily put together and upload six-minute video clips. Not to be undone, Facebook's Instagram, owned by Facebook, recently announced the addition of video clips to its photo-sharing service. But Instagram's new service lacks usability--one of the top tests for customer engagement.