Twitter says it’s expanding the new voice tweets feature to more users on iOS and is working to add transcriptions to improve accessibility.
The social media company first launched voice tweets in June and they worked more or less as you’d expect. People could post a tweet with an attached recording of them speaking. However, there’s currently no way to see captions or transcriptions of the audio, which essentially locks people with hearing impairments out of voice tweets.
We’re rolling out voice Tweets to more of you on iOS so we can keep learning about how people use audio.
Since introducing the feature in June, we've taken your feedback seriously and are working to have transcription available to make voice Tweets more accessible. (1/2)
— Twitter Support (@TwitterSupport) September 29, 2020
Following ample criticism over the lack of accessibility, a Twitter employee revealed that the company didn’t have a dedicated team for accessibility. Instead, the social media platform asked employees to volunteer their time on top of their usual work to focus on accessibility.
On September 2nd, Twitter announced two new teams dedicated to accessibility. One would focus on accessibility within Twitter’s products while the other would tackle accessibility for Twitter as a business. As part of that announcement, Twitter also said it would add automated captions to audio and video on the platform by early 2021. The company’s plan to add transcriptions to voice tweets is part of that larger goal.
However, it remains unclear when transcriptions will actually arrive for voice tweets. Twitter’s current road map includes rolling out voice tweets to Android and the web sometime in 2021, which could be a while away. Hopefully, transcriptions arrive before then.
Interestingly, Twitter also plans to start testing the ability to send voice direct messages (DMs) soon. That test will start in Brazil.