A New Extension Shows You How Blind People Perceive Facebook Photos

The extension reveals how Facebook gathers information from the photos we upload.

Facebook data is no laughing matter.
Facebook No laughing matter Image LOIC VENANCE/AFP/Getty Images

Have you ever wondered how people with visual impairments interact with Facebook photos? Now an extension shows you how.

Back in April, Facebook created a tool to describe photos from the website for people with visual impairment. It is a system so that they could ‘see’ the photos, as it describes what said pictures contain. An AI scans the photo and interprets what’s in it, and with an audio file describing what the image contains.

Now, every Facebook user can find out how it works.

Californian programmer Adam Geitgey has created an extension, so anyone can see what information this tool gathers from photos.

The extension allows you to see how the tool describes who is in the photo, if it’s indoors or outdoors, the weather, or what the people in the photo are doing.

A photo with the Facebook Vision tags Image Chrome

But Geitgey hasn’t done this out of fun. The purpose is to show us how Facebook is gathering data from every single photo we upload, so that we can discover the tags the social media network is using with our images.

As Geitgey says in the description of the extension:

“On one hand, this is really great. It improves accessibility for blind users who depend on screen readers which are only capable of processing text. But I think a lot of internet users don’t realize the amount of information that is now routinely extracted from photographs.

“The goal is simply to make everyone aware of the kind of information that is routinely extracted from your own images today.”

The extension can be downloaded for Chrome and Firefox. It might make you think twice before you start uploading countless photos of yourself to any social media platform.

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