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Oh my GAAD - The All-Inclusive Newsletter #9

Oh my GAAD - The All-Inclusive Newsletter #9
By Liam O'Dell • Issue #9 • View online
Good evening,
No, you haven’t lost an email, I’ve simply course corrected and skipped to #9 so everything’s up-to-date. Speaking of, your latest update on all things tech, social media and access.

🗞️ Read A11y 'bout it!
Making Spaces accessible
Wix launches tool to help with website accessibility
YouTube has learned some lessons
😱 "Won't somebody please think of the deaf people?!"
The Limping Chicken
Deaf News: Frustration as Instagram Stories’ automatic captions censor swear words
Remember that whole blunder with captions for Instagram Stories which I mentioned in an earlier issue? Well, the feature that was inadvertently ‘leaked’ in March is now here for good.
Let’s be clear: there’s still some things about these captions which aren’t ideal in terms of readability (the rapid, word-by-word appearance of the text isn’t always accessible to those with dyslexia or individuals who struggle with cognition), yet there’s also another element of Instagram’s captions sticker which is flawed: censoring swear words.
They’re not the only platform to do this, by the way. YouTube, to avoid “‘potentially inappropriate” words from coming up in their automatic captions, decided to play it safe (and ridiculous) by replacing any word they considered as being problematic with ’[__]‘. Hopefully it doesn’t take a [__] genius to realise how [__] irritating a [__] feature which censors every other word can be.
You may argue that such a move is needed to keep platforms like this PG, but there are already tools out there which can restrict expletives from being seen/heard by younger audiences. 'Made for Kids’, Restricted Mode and YouTube Kids all work to get mature content away from the eyes of children on YouTube, and on Instagram, a slightly hidden setting can allow you to state that only those over a certain age limit can follow your account. Settings which can stop people from witnessing bad language are there; you do not need to add censorship into captioning features to mitigate this risk.
In the case of Instagram, as autistic and disabled activist Charli Clement pointed out on Twitter, the audio beeps which are emitted in place of the actual explicit can be a nightmare to neurodivergent people who hate unexpected noises. It’s one thing annoying deaf people by implying we can’t handle strong language; it’s another potentially causing harm to neurodivergent folks by adding loud, unexpected and unnecessary beeps to your captions tool.
The heading for this section is a reference to Helen Lovejoy of The Simpsons, an adaptation of her catchphrase being apt to describe this whole mess. Captioning tools which censor language is not only discriminatory, but infantilising as hell. Stop it.
💵 Tip top tips
Esther Crawford
People on Twitter are already doing this—adding their PayPal and $Cashtag to their bio or as a reply to a Tweet that takes off. We want to make it easier to show support beyond Retweets, Likes, or Follows.
A handful of Twitter users, myself included, have been given access to Tip Jar, one of the social media platform’s new features designed to monetise the user experience by ‘tipping’ creators and accounts you love. Needless to say, this can be a great source of income and financial support for disabled campaigners, who are normally offering their advice and advocacy for free. Similarly, ticketed Spaces should also offer a great opportunity to run paid accessibility workshops, too.
I do think they have a challenge on their hands when it comes to competing against established support streams such as Patreon and Kofi (although you can access the former through Tip Jar), but it could very well be a lifeline for activists looking to make some cash online.
As a reply from Twitter’s Esther Crawford in response to the above tweet states, this will be different to Super Follows, which I’ve written about before in a previous issue, and how these too can benefit disabled Twitter users.
📅 GAAD you came
If you missed out on the Staying Inn workshop a few weeks back and want another opportunity to get some free accessibility insight from yours truly, then I’m joining the folks at Accessibility UK for a chat on Global Accessibility Awareness Day (that’s GAAD, next Thursday, 20 May).
It all kicks off at 7pm (BST) and registration is free. You can sign up to the Zoom call now!
👋🏻 See you on 28 May!
That’s it for another All-Inclusive Newsletter! This week’s issue felt a little lighter to write, but nevertheless, you’re now in the know about the latest developments in accessibility, social media and tech. Thanks for reading.
Don’t forget that I always welcome your feedback and I had some really helpful comments after I sent out my last issue two weeks ago. Simply respond to this email to share your thoughts, or use the thumbs up/down icons below.
And hey, if you really liked this issue, then please do consider sharing it around with friends and colleagues who may be interested. Simply forward them this email, or get them to sign up on my Revue webpage.
Next stop, 150 subscribers.
I’m off to prepare for the panel discussion for Global Accessibility Awareness Day on Thursday. See you in a fortnight!
Did you enjoy this issue?
Liam O'Dell

I'm writing my first book, and I want you to follow my journey, but also motivate me to put words on a page.

Formerly 'The All-Inclusive Newsletter', this newsletter will share updates as I begin to compile my debut, but will also be a way for me to reach out with ways you can be involved, and support the work I'm doing.

Sign up to The Book Accountability Project for updates on my writing progress when I have them.
Hi, I'm Liam. I'm a Deaf and disabled journalist and campaigner who is now writing my first non-fiction book, and needs people to hold me accountable.

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