Social Media Accessibility

There are several ways to make your social media posts accessible for people with disabilities. Several are detailed below with some specific information for individual platforms provided by MIT’s Social Media Team in the Communications Office.


Use clear language and avoid acronyms, if possible.


Use “CamelCase” for hashtags, capitalizing the first letter of each word. This will facilitate screen readers reading the words individually rather than as incoherent words. It also makes the hashtags easier to read for people scanning posts visually.

  • For example, the hashtags #TellingTheTime and #OutdoorFun are easier to read than #tellingthetime and #outdoorfun.

Emojis and Emoticons

  • Emojis are described by a screen reader and generally have good descriptions. Avoid overusing them and be sure to place spaces between words and emojis.
  • Emoticons are constructed using text like this example of “shrugging” ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. These can be difficult for everyone to understand, but when read by a screen reader the individual characters are read giving the user no idea of the intended meaning. We discourage the use of emoticons for this reason.

Closed Captioning

Closed captioning is the process of displaying a text version on the screen of the spoken and audio content of a video. Closed captions make the content available to people who are deaf or hard of hearing as well as those who may not be able to use the sound from their device.

Adding Closed Captioning to Specific Platforms


YouTube offers an option to automatically caption your videos. With this option you can manually edit the captions. If you use this option, you should expect to do a fair amount of editing as the automatic captioning feature has not been perfected yet.

  • Go to your video manager in YouTube
  • Click “Edit” > Click “Subtitles and CC”
  • Click on the track you want to edit and make your changes, or select a specific line in the caption track panel and press the up or down arrow to adjust the timing
  • Click “Save Changes”

If you have a closed captioning file or an .srt file you can upload it to YouTube along with your video file. You can create an .srt file yourself using free programs like Amara or pay for the service using programs like Rev or 3PlayMedia. The fee for Rev starts at $1.25 per minute. 3PlayMedia offers MIT affiliates a base rate of $1.70 per minute. More information on 3PlayMedia and other captioning vendors is available on the Captioning website.

  • To upload your .srt file go to your “Video Manager” in YouTube and click “Edit” next to the video you want to add captions to
  • Click “Subtitles and CC”
  • Select the language of your video
  • Choose the type of file you’re uploading (in this case it will be an .srt file)
  • Browse your computer for the file
  • Click “Upload” and publish


Facebook offers three options for adding captions:

  • Auto-generate, which will generate captions for you and give you the option to review and edit the auto-generated captions. You should expect to do a fair amount of editing.
  • Write, where you can start and stop the video manually and you can type the captions in the text fields
  • Upload, where you can upload an .srt file

In order to add captions:

  • Click “Photo/Video” in the compost box in your timeline
  • Select a video to upload from your computer
  • Click “Subtitles & Captions (cc)” in the compose box
  • Select a language
  • At this point you can select one of the three options auto-generate, write, or upload
  • To upload your caption file be sure the file is name is in accordance with the Facebook .srt file naming convention which is
  • Add video title and post description and publish


Currently, only accounts that have access to Twitter’s Media Studio have the option to caption videos. Media Studio is by invitation only and Twitter has been very vague about who receives invitations. To discover whether you’ve been invited or not, go to the desktop version of your account and click on “More.” You will see “Media Studio” in the menu that open if you have been selected for this service. If you see this option, click on “Media Studio” and follow these steps to add captioning to your videos.

  • Click “Upload Media” in the upper right-hand corner
  • Select a video to upload from your computer
  • Once the video is uploaded completely, click on subtitles
  • Select a language to upload
  • Then click “Upload” to upload an .srt file from your computer

An alternative option is to create videos that have text/captioning built into the video. Headliner is a free platform that will automatically transcribe and add the text to your video, however we recommend you edit the transcription manually.


You must have a closed captioning file or an .srt file with no blanks, to caption your video on this platform
Click the video camera icon in the compose box

  • Select a video to upload from your computer
  • Click “Edit” in the video box
  • Click “Select File” to upload an .srt file from your computer
  • Click “Save”
  • Add a post description and publish

Alternative text

Alternative text, or alt text is a phrase that describes the nature or contents of an image that can be read by a screen reader.

Adding Alt text to Specific Platforms

Here are some alt text best practices as outlined by HubSpot:

  • Describe the image and be specific
  • Keep it to fewer than 125 characters; screen-readers typically stop reading alt text at this point
  • Don’t start with “picture of…” or “image of…” Get right to the description. Most screen-readers will identify it as an image from the HTML source code


  • Once you upload a photo in the compose box, hover over the image and click on the paint brush which means edit photo
  • Click “Alt Text”
  • Facebook will provide automatically generated alt text which you can override and edit
  • Select “Override Generated Alt Text”
  • Add your own alt text and save
  • You also have the option to go back edit your alt text


  • Click on the Tweet compose button
  • Attach a photo or photos
  • Click “Add Description”
  • Type in a description of the image, the limit is 420 characters, and click “Done”
  • You can add a description to each image in a Tweet if you are attaching multiple images


  • Take a photo within Instagram or upload an existing photo
  • Tap “Next”
  • Tap “Advanced Settings” in the bottom left had side of the screen
  • Tap “Write Alt Text”
  • Type in a description, the limit is 125 characters, and tap “Save”
  • Publish post


  • Upload a photo and then click “Add Alt Text”
  • Type in a description of the image and click “Save”
  • Publish post