I received the following message this morning, from Victoria Zigler, who is a registered blind writer and uses Facebook.
I wondered if you could post the following to make people aware of the issue:
“I noticed recently that Facebook started having background options for posts.
When you create a post on Facebook, it has an option for you to pick a background colour. When I say “create a post” I mean write a post directly on Facebook, on your timeline/wall or in that “What’s on your mind?” box. You can pick it like you can pick your feeling or activity.
This was fine at first, because my screen readers – both JAWS (my computer one) and Voice Over (my iPhone one) were happy to just tell me the background existed and which style had been chosen, and then read the text to me. Voice Over especially was good about this, since it likes Facebook better than JAWS does. Anyway, at that point I had no problems with them. Even used them a few times myself.
However, Facebook must have fiddled with the feature or something, because now it won’t tell me what the background is. Worse, it won’t tell me what the person’s post says. I just get a message saying, “Awesome text background,” and nothing else.
I’m letting people know so they’re aware that this can cause problems for blind people following their social media. If people who read this continue to use the backgrounds even with this knowledge, that’s fine. It’s their choice. Just be aware it means I won’t be reacting to – or potentially commenting on – the posts in question, since I’ll have to use the same rule I use for images: if I don’t know what it is, I don’t react or respond to it.”
Since I’d never made a post directly onto Facebook, I decided to check it out, to see what the problem might be.
For anyone who wasn’t aware, see the three screenshots below, of the process (example now deleted):