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Twitter update is a blow to accessibility, and disabled people will suffer

Links to news stories were previously clearly displayed on X, formerly known as Twitter, with headlines, and could be read using screen reader technology. However, in a new update to the platform, links are now shown as a normal picture, and the name of the website, written in small text in the corner, is the only clue that the image contains a link. This means people using screen readers won’t know what the link is until they click it and open it.

disabled man using a smartphone

Disability charity Sense believes the new update will make it much more difficult for people using screen readers to engage with tweets and use social media. Any exclusion of disabled people from social media is a huge concern – the charity’s recent research into loneliness found over half of people with complex disabilities (53%) felt lonely, compared to 25% of the general public.

Please see below a comment from Steven Morris, who works for Sense and is himself deafblind and a social media user, sharing his concerns about how these changes will affect him and the many other disabled people who use social media.

Steven Morris, Campaigns Officer at Sense, said:

“This change is yet another example of accessibility not being considered, and once again it’s disabled people that will suffer because of this.

“Disabled people should not be left out of life, but this change will make it far more difficult for some disabled people to use social media, where they could meet people, make new friends and engage in conversations. We know that disabled people are more likely to be lonely than the general population – we should be making social media more accessible, not less.

“It’s also more difficult to flag issues like this to the social media platform. We’d urge the management at X/Twitter to reconsider this change, to show they are willing to work towards creating a platform that is accessible to all.”

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

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