Elon Musk’s latest decision threatens to shut out millions of blind people from Twitter
I have been generally agnostic about Elon Musk buying Twitter, and most of the crazy exaggerations on both sides of the issue have resolved themselves after a week’s worth of time. However, I am worried about what just happened.
Twitter just disabled third-party access to the platform, and that could shut out millions of blind and vision-impaired people who need those apps to use the service.
Now look, he can do whatever he wants with the app. That is his right. And it’s my right, as a Twitter user, to register my disappointment and ask that he reconsider, or figure out a work-around for the handicapped.
I was made aware of this problem by a follower of mine named Chris who tweets under the screen name @Buckinflynd.
Here’s what he wrote for me about this issue:
As someone who supported the Musk takeover of Twitter, I write this today with a heavy heart. Twitter, by a recent change in their rules, has denied access for third party apps to their API and licensed materials which allowed a user to access their tweets through a customized app.
The reason this is so devastating is because this effectively shuts out millions of blind and visually impaired people such as myself who have up to now enjoyed Twitter access via blind accessible third party apps-some exclusively tailored to the blind who can use computers with voice screen-readers such as NVDA and JAWS (Job Access With Speech) as well as the built-in voiceOver feature on the iPhone.
The Twitter website and how it functions has always been virtually unusable for us, and the only way we can be a part of the Twitter community is via these apps designed in a way that are accessible. Twitter has opened up my world so much-from communication, new ideas, and a wealth of information all at my fingertips.
I’m reaching out for any help on our behalf.
I’m just a guy. I don’t have a big megaphone or access to anyone at Twitter who might be able to make a difference. Please don’t let us be shut out from the conversation. There are so many of us out there who still want to contribute. Thank you. – Chris AKA Buckinflynd
He tweeted that he’s already lost contact with some other blind people.
Again, I support Musk’s right to do whatever he wants with Twitter. He bought it, he owns it. However, I really think it would be to his benefit, and to the app, if he figures out some remedy to this problem.
Please retweet and repost this article, hopefully it’ll catch his attention.
Also, here’s a really fascinating video about how the iPhone lets blind people use social media and other apps.