Elon Musk has simply never add any single alternative text to images he tweeted. Not a single one. Although image descriptions are essential for users using screen reader such as visually impaired people.

Screenshot of an October 2022 tweet from Elon Musk "An eye for an eye leaves everyone blind" with an image with the quote: There's a famous Russian proverb about this type of behavior. One day, a poor villager happens upon a magic talking fish that is ready to grant him a single wish. Overjoyed, the villager weighs his options: "Maybe a castle? Or even better-a thousand bars of gold? Why not a ship to sail the world?" As the villager is about to make his decision, the villager is about to say that there is one important caveat: whatever the villager gets, his neighbor will receive two of the same. Without skipping a beat, the villager says, "In that case, please poke one of my eyes out.

I have analysed 17.964 tweets from Elon Musk. I could not find any alternative text. Not a single one. The CEO of Twitter either do not know that the feature exists, or do not care about accessibility. Or maybe both! After the lay off of the entire Twitter accessibility team, we can have some clues.

The alternative texts are a feature added to Twitter in 2016. It allows people using screen reader, a software that read aloud text, to have access to the content. Blind or partially sighted Twitter users use screen readers everyday. If an image does not have an alternative text filled by the tweet’s author, the screen reader will only say that the tweet contains an image with describing it. It is an essential feature recommended in many guidelines.

How to add an alt text?

Twitter with its page « How to make images accessible for people » describe how to add image descriptions to your images. But here is a quick sum up for Elon Musk:

  • Step 1: write a tweet.
  • Step 2: add image(s) to your tweet.
  • Step 3: click on the Add description button.
  • Step 4: write a short description of your image.

That’s all!

Accessibility score: G

Several months ago, I built the Twitter accessibility score, a tool that retrieve your latest tweets, detect if you have put image descriptions or not, and give you a score. For users that often put alt texts, it is useful to have an overview of which tweets lacks of accessibility and try to improve it for future tweets (it is not possible to add alt text after the tweet is posted).

In the case of Elon Musk, without any single image description, I can assure you that his accessibility score is the lowest one: a G. Let that sink in.