A number of accessibility problems with the Facebook iOS app

iOS & iPadOS

For the most part, Facebook is pretty accessible, but I have still encountered some areas where voiceover missed behaves or provides little to no verbal feedback at all. Does anyone else run into these challenges when browsing Facebook? Feel free to chime in with other areas of the app that I missed.

Viewing a timeline or main page of a Facebook page. When viewing a page, for example, the Facebook page for a business, restaurant, musician, etc., or an individual timeline, including your own, The flick right and flick left gestures used to move from one screen element to another behave erratically. For example, I will have the voiceover cursor position on the first status update from a given page. I will flick right with the expectation that VoiceOver will move to the next status update but instead, it ends up at some other random area of the screen. Also in these timeline views, the three finger swipe up and swipe down gestures do not move the screen buy as much as you would expect, Meaning you have to swipe up or down multiple times just to get the screen to scroll a full-page. Very strange behavior

Facebook live posts. Whenever I double tap on a post that says "so and so was live," it brings me to a screen where none of the controls are labeled and I cannot back out of the screen. I have to close and restart the Facebook app.

Facebook notes. If someone posts a note on Facebook, double tapping that post from the newsfeed brings me into a screen with literally no voiceover feedback whatsoever, making me suspect that the notes section of Facebook is completely inaccessible. Again, I have to restart the app to get back to the newsfeed

I am probably forgetting some others, but those are the ones that come to mind right now. What are your experiences?



Submitted by Dave82 on Saturday, July 30, 2016

Yes I've encountered all of the above, except maybe facebook notes, as I don't even know what that is :)
Pages and timelines are very difficult to navigate now.
Event pages are a problem too, for example I was recently unable to read the event description and some other details for an event I was invited to.
Search is a total mess too.
Another minor issue I've noticed is that VoiceOver doesn't correctly report the number of likes on a comment. It's fine on the main post but not on the comments. Like a comment and you'll see it still says "zero likes".

Submitted by Troy on Saturday, July 30, 2016

I'm glad someone brought this up because I've also had all of the above issues. I guess the only thing we can do is keep on bugging the accessibility team at facebook.

Submitted by Ekaj on Saturday, July 30, 2016

I've encountered some of these but not all of them. I've honestly not been using Fb a lot. One thing I can do however, is click on "Post to Facebook" links here on AppleVis and on other sites that have this feature enabled. But even that is a bit clumsy at times. I'm actually going to check out Trillian pretty soon. I found it listed in the App directory on here. As the Social Media Assistant for my job I'd kinda like to help increase our social media presence even more. I've only been helping out with Twitter, but we also have a Facebook page. Plus, one of my colleagues just had surgery and is moving out of state with his wife.

Submitted by jcdjmac (not verified) on Saturday, July 30, 2016

no, not for me. I only go on their to check news feed and like and/or comment on any other posts.

Submitted by Dawn on Saturday, July 30, 2016

I'm glad 2 know it's not just me! I've encountered search problems within the app, inability to tell me what a sticker or GIF. is (EX.: woman crying) like voiceover tells u what emojis r, FB. doesn't tell u much about someone's page when they send u a friend request within the app. I have 2 have a sighted person give me the information.

For those of u who have issues with search within the Facebook app I have a little work-around. It can b tricky @ times, but it'll work until the Facebook Accessibility team gets the message. Open Facebook in Safaari & go to the search field & type in your search term then when u find it just friend, like or do whatever action is appropriate 4 your search.

I do have 1 question: How can u read text in a picture like a meme? For example, if there is someone doing something funny or a fun fact & a picture of something then all voiceover will say is `Image may containg text` or `Photo no automatic alt-text available. I've been toying with the idea of using the roter to help me navigate that but I was wondering if anyone of u had any ideas because I'm completely blind & as a result, I need sighted people 2 read me the text on the picture & describe it. Any assistance would b appreciated.

Submitted by Eric Davis on Sunday, July 31, 2016

I know technology farely well, but I just can't bring myself to get in to Face Book or Twitter. I have the apps and have used them, but I open them once a week or so. I am sure that all my friends just love me for that. SMILE! I don't hate the apps, but can't bring my self to leash my life to them like some of my friends do. If you want to talk to me, call me and talk. I speek better than I type.

Submitted by Santiago on Sunday, July 31, 2016

I agree with the comments posted already about the inaccessible portions of Facebook. I figured I'd add my comments to this as well regarding the accessibility of Instagram for iOS, considering Instagram is owned by Facebook. Recently it hasn't been that accessible, to the point where you can't even look at your own profile, decline or accept follow requests, or look at other profiles. I've reported these issues multiple times already, however, I don't see them improving as of yet.

Submitted by Darrell Shandr… on Monday, August 1, 2016

Description: The details of event invitations are inaccessible to VoiceOver.

Steps to reproduce:
1. Make sure VoiceOver is turned on in Settings > General > Accessibility > VoiceOver on the iOS device.
2. Open the Facebook app.
3. Open any event invitation.
4. Tap the top of the screen with four fingers.
5. Repeatedly flick to the right through the event invitation, pausing after each flick to listen to the information provided by VoiceOver.
6. Note that important information, such as the event's date, location, time and other details, are not spoken.

Current behavior: In its current implementation, event invitations are inaccessible and virtually useless to blind people using Facebook's iOS app.

Expected behavior: Blind Facebook users should be able to access event invitations on terms of equality with their sighted friends.

Facebook version is running on an iPhone 6 with iOS version 9.3.3.

Submitted by Darrell Shandr… on Monday, August 1, 2016

Hello Everyone,

Let's all move this forward with Facebook.

1. Please, everyone, write up bug reports covering all inaccessible Facebook features similar to the one just posted about inaccessible event invitations.
2. Visit https://www.facebook.com/help/contact/accessibility and submit your bug reports directly to Facebook's accessibility team.
3. Visit http://facebook.com/accessibility and submit your bug report as a comment on the company's accessibility page.
4. Share your bug report on this thread.

It is critical that we all do everything we possibly can to call attention to areas of Facebook that remain closed off from us and that we insist upon and help Facebook achieve equal accessibility and full inclusiveness.

Submitted by Toonhead on Monday, August 1, 2016

Darrell is absolutely right y'all. If we're going to say that Facebook has accessibility issues, it makes no sense to just talk about them on here. Why that would be like something going on that we don't like in one part of a house, but instead of going to the other part of the house where the problem is, everyone sits around and does nothing to fix the problem whatever it might be. Remember, Facebook isn't on here and probably won't see any of this unless someone makes them aware. So we have to tell them.

Submitted by KE7ZUM on Monday, August 1, 2016

Here are my views on this post.

  1. The page view is accessible for me. I explore by touch and the scroll gesture works fine.
  2. The live control one does need work. I've contacted @fbaccess on their feedback form with no response as of yet, this was a month ago.
  3. I've never used the notes feature as i have no use for that part, and none of my 2000 facebook friends post notes anymore.
  4. The live video controls for the poster are inaccessible. They broke that part since I last sent them feedback.

Over all though the app to me and for me is about 90 percent accessible and very user friendly.

Submitted by KE7ZUM on Monday, August 1, 2016

I disagree about the event invites. I accessibly with voiceover on accepted many invitations this week for some organizations so dunno why this poster is having the issue.