When Twitter tested a new feature that let users share audio clips with tweets, the company received criticism for not including accessibility tools like closed captioning. That set off a larger debate about how Twitter approaches accessibility. Now, Twitter says it heard the criticism and recognizes that it needs to do better.
“We know we need to do more to make our service accessible and we will,” the company said in a blog post.
Twitter is launching two new teams: the Accessibility Center of Excellence (ACE) and the Experience Accessibility Team (EAT, that can’t be intentional). While those names sound a bit like they came out of a corporate jargon generator, the teams will do important work. ACE will make aspects of Twitter -- from office spaces to marketing and legal and policy standards -- more accessible. EAT will work to make new and existing products and features more accessible. Already, Twitter is working to add automated captions to audio and video by early 2021.
It’s great that Twitter listened to feedback and is launching these teams, but it makes you wonder why the company didn’t have such teams in place already. Accessibility concerns are nothing new, and other companies already have teams like this.
The Americans With Disabilities Act was signed into law 30 years ago. Federal law requires accessibility from the start. You don't, as a matter of civil rights law, get to roll out an inaccessible feature and then, only later, make it accessible. https://t.co/f58t9pthAy
— Matthew Cortland, Esq (@mattbc) June 17, 2020