Aug 16 2022

Building for everyone at Meta

By Meta Careers
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Learn how leaders from across the company advocate for accessibility by ensuring that products and platforms at Meta are built for inclusivity. In this virtual event, our leaders in accessibility share how they push the industry forward by developing inclusive programs that serve everyone, everywhere. We dive deeper into where technology is taking us and what that means for people with disabilities so that we can continue our mission of connecting people.

Building for everyone at Meta transcript

Debbie Girolamo:
Hello and welcome, everyone. Thank you for joining us for this virtual event. I am your moderator, Debbie Girolamo.She/her pronouns. Physical appearance, I am a woman with medium length brown hair, blue eyes and I am wearing an off white blouse and speaking from my home office today. In my day job, I am a director and general counsel for Meta's Reality Labs leading an incredible legal team. It's great to be here. Little housekeeping before we get started. Live closed captioning is available in English and Spanish. To access that, please visit buildcc.
Zoom closed captions are available and ASL interpreter is available. After the panel discussion will be opening up for Q&A. Please submit your questions to our panel during the event using the chat function at the bottom of your Zoom screen. Okay, let's jump in and meet our panelists. Instead of reading bios I would love for each of you to share who you are and what you do. Kiran, do you want to get started?
Kiran Kaja:
Thank you, Debbie. Hi, good afternoon. It's lovely to be here. I am Kiran Kaja. I live in Berkeley, California. I work remotely. I go by the pronouns he/him/his. I am South Asian-Indian looking male in my early 40s with black hair, short-ish. I believe I am wearing a red polo shirt. I am blind since birth. I work as a technical program manager leading the accessibility program for Instagram. We are a team that makes Instagram more accessible to people with disabilities. We build experiences that are targeted at people with disabilities, such as auto generated captions, automatic alt text and we work across the organization to bring a culture change and help teams build and include accessibility in their features and services they build. Yao goes next.
Yao Ding:
Thank you. My name is Yao Ding. I am Asian male looking. Black short hair. Wearing glasses. I am a researcher at meta Central Accessibility team. I joined meta two years ago. I am based in Menlo Park. I give a voice to our users with disabilities. To make sure their voice is heard and is an integral part of our decision-making product design and development. I conduct user studies. I directly engage participants with. I support other researchers who may be nor to accessibility and by providing training and resources I hope I am helping them feel equipped and confident going about their first accessibility studies. I will pass the microphone to Mike.
Mike Shebanek:
Thanks, appreciate it. I am a Mike Shebanek. I am an older man in his late 50s, I have reddish hair and I am wearing glasses and a gray shirt talking to you from my home office. Great to be with you. I roll in the company is head of Accessibility across Meta. I've been at the company about two and a half years. I was previously head of Accessibility at Apple and Yahoo. My role is to set the vision and coordinate and enable the work of accessibility across the entire company. My central team develops a lot of the tools and training, develops some of the techniques were used to implement accessibility and to test and validate those things. Overall we are advocates for people with disabilities throughout the company and outside the company. It's really interesting work, glad to be with you here today to talk more about it.
Debbie Girolamo:
Thanks, everyone. Great to see you all today. Everyone has a unique half to working with accessibility. For me I was fortunate to fall into this work through my legal practice. I was asked to cover accessibility product compliance but I quickly found a passion for the work and it's led me to really great things. I was able to found the Reality Labs Accessibility task force, working to expand accessibility work across our products in Reality Labs such as Meta Quest or portal. I've got to participate in the associations and working group and drafting accessibility and inclusive design. I get to work in an advisory role with our steering committee which is working to improve product accessibility across Reality Labs products. So I'm curious. For each of you, how did you first get into accessibility work? Mike, do you want to start?
Mike Shebanek:
Thanks, Debbie. It's an interesting thing because I didn't even know accessibility existed when I started my career. It's not something that I studied for.
My background is computer science. I was a product manager for a number of years and I worked on projects like the iMac and other things at Apple.
At one point in my work my manager walked in and said,"I've got a project for you."
I said, "Okay, what is it?"
He said, "It will take probably two weeks. We need to figure out how to solve a problem to enable people to use MAC computers for students who are blind in a school district."
I said I didn't even know people who were blind could use a computer. This will be interesting. Off I went, not knowing much of anything.
Everyone starts somewhere, right? I jumped in and started asking questions, got really curious, started to meet with people and visit with people I was absolutely amazed at what I was discovering and learning about.
Assistive technologies and how effective people can be who use assistive technologies. That work eventually led me to create the voice-over screen reader that's now built into every MAC and iPhone.
It changed my career direction. I couldn't be happier. I was going in one direction to do some work and all of a sudden I am in accessibility and that eventually led me to have the work at Apple and Yahoo and Meta. We are doing really cool stuff. It's been an incredible career change. The people I met have been extraordinary, and users and the people that I work with to help build these technologies. Advocacy groups and things like that. I could never ever predicted this career path but I couldn't be happier to be on it.
How about you, Yao? How did you get into this work?
Yao Ding:
Thank you for sharing such a great story. Hearing stories from accessibility veterans like he was a big motivator. My journey of accessibility started at school. I happened into this area.
Like probably many accessibility practitioners out there. I was an undergrad and I got involved in a student research project to study the effect of Internet use on loneliness and the social isolation of older adults. I don't remember exactly if I simply got assigned the topic or I picked the topic from other options. But looking back, it's definitely a life-changing moment because after the project, I was so inspired that I decided to pursue a PhD focused on disability and technology.
Later, during my PhD, my interest in this area really grew into a lifelong passion. As part of my training, I worked with clinicians to provide computer access technology to patients who experience communication difficulties so that they can use computers, tablets, and other communication devices to generate speech.
One day there was a little boy visiting us, he had been visiting for us for months and he started tapping the commune occasion app and said mom, give me a hug. That was the first time he expressed a feeling spontaneously. Not simply responding to yes or no questions like are you hungry, or do you want to go potty. Mom was emotional. Everyone was emotional. Such moments that made me believe I'm making a difference. After over a decade in this field, the work is still incredibly rewarding. I think those are the couple defining years of my early career in accessibility.
How about you, Kiran? We would like to hear your story.
Kiran Kaja:
Those are incredible stories, thank you. Mike and Debbie. Yao. Mine is simpler actually. I don't have a degree in computer science or actually have a degree that I kind of use in my work.
I grew up in India in the '80s and early '90s. We didn't really have much information that blind people could use computers. So I was happily studying at school, using Braille and in my own world. After high school -- oh, and my father mapped out a career for me. I was going to study history and teach at a school and maybe become a professor one day.
After high school, I discovered that computers can talk to me. I could use a computer with screen reading software. My uncle bought me a computer. Then history was out the window. I still love history, reading about historical events. But computer sounded much more interesting. I now have access to the Internet and access to information. I can read books and materials that I was not able to read before.
So I have an undergrad degree in business administration and accounting. Because I couldn't switch to computer science. They wouldn't let me switch to computer science back then. So I just learned to write code, started contributing to open source projects in accessibility. And just got interested in how technology can help people with disabilities be a lot more independent.
As a blind person myself, technology completely changed my life, it had a profound impact on my life. Ever since I have been working for the past decade and a half or so to make that a reality for other people with disabilities. I have had roles with S.A.P., business enterprise software company. Adobe, Google, and now at Meta. Making products more accessible and useful and exciting to use for people with disabilities and when I hear users tell us how easy it is for them to use our products to get in touch with their friends, family, and follow their interest, that is something that makes me most happy.
Debbie Girolamo:
Those are such incredible stories, actually all of them and very diverse, and I hope for our listeners, you can see all the different paths you can take and the ability to do this later in your career if it's not something you've done before. I was really excited to host this chat, as the four of us have all worked closely over the past few years despite our different roles in the company. This panel is representative of how many different and various teams and people support accessibility at Meta and of the cross functional collaboration that's involved.
Mike, for our audience, can you share more about how accessibility at Meta operates generally?
Mike Shebanek:
Thanks, Debbie.
I think a lot of people have in mind that there are people who are expert at this and they sit in a room and figured out in every problem, everyone comes to them and they come up with great examples. That's not how it works. You hit it on the head parent all of us work together in various ways in various roles and Meta, accessibility takes place at pretty much every level of the company.
There is a strategic idea that we should make products that are inclusive. We want people to be equally included in communicate and share their ideas and have a voice and be heard and to have economic opportunities in all sorts of things. Even at the individual contributor part, there are individuals who know this subject, who care. Others are passionate but don't know what to do. Every place in the company, whether it's as a admin, technologist, as a program manager, whatever role that person has, they can advocate for people with disabilities in whatever role they take.
Organizationally we are set up as a hub and spoke model. There is a central team that has experts. This would've developed some of the key training, some of the terminology we use. Just some of the primary research, Yao has been talking about. And then also develop some of the tools that we use and some of the processes to make sure the way we implement accessibility is consistent across the company. We work with accessibility teams are experts in other parts of the company too that are more local.
Kiran, great example, Instagram. Making sure that Instagram is doing that work to implement accessibility across their product space. But can also lean on us to say is there a better tool? Is there already a system in place to take advantage of to make it faster and easier to raise the quality of what we do for accessibility. Can I learn from people and share some of the things that are best practices. That's a lot of what we do.
We work cross functionally. Eileen on legal, Debbie, for some of those opinions. Eileen on -- I lean on Kiran. Can I bring in experts? That also ask questions. What does the future look like? What should we be thinking about? What are the new opportunities because of technology or policy changes. I work with Yao. What are people with disabilities asking for? We've got to be great listeners. That's one of maybe one of the more fun parts of the job is the engagement we have with so many parts of the company but also different people outside the company as well so accessibility is not just top-down and it's not just bottom up. It takes place at every level so no matter what role you have, you have a part in this and you can at that impact on your local team or your organization and in some cases across the company.
Debbie Girolamo:
I love how this group illustrates how many different roles touch on accessibility and can illustrate what Mike is talking about about how we come together in this model.
Let's dive deeper into your roles. No two days are the same. What a typical day looks like. Yao, let's start with you.
Yao Ding:
Sure. My day-to-day job follows the 80-20 rule. 80% conceiving and preparing for research and the rest 20% are really the highlights of my day. I get the chance to run user research, talking to people and learning about their world.
I'm always excited about user research because when I think, I know our disabled users well enough. Not making assumptions to how they use our products. That's when I am proven wrong.
A recent example is a study about disability representation and avatars. For those not familiar with avatars, their mutual mutual representations of yourselves. They can be you in the Metaverse and you can create avatars stickers and use stickers. Comment on Facebook or messenger. The question was how to people with disabilities want to be represented in avatars? I started off by assuming that most people would like to show assistive technologies and disabilities with the purpose of self representation and social awareness. It was true, it was later verified. I learned much more than that. For example some people want the avatars to mimic reality. While some wanted more of an idealized version. Some want a varied version in different settings. Like a reality version in social settings especially with a close friend, or family. A nondisabled version in gaming. Or even a superpower version that can actualize things that they cannot do in real life. Wheelchair users for instance wanted the ability in the Metaverse to climb mountains, to ski, to simply overcome curbs and stairs.
I also learned that many, there are many future requests. We never would have thought of if we didn't talk to the disabled participants. Do they -- people wanted more color options. Bedazzled. That's what they've done to to their hearing aids.
I have talked a lot and I can go on and on. It's like a peek into part of my day-to-day job that I find incredibly rewarding. How about you, Kiran?
Kiran Kaja:
Thank you. That's very exciting.
In my case I am a technical program manager. One of the core parts of my job is to ensure that we are on track with our projects. On a daily basis I review what we have agreed to deliver. Reviewing projects, making sure that if any of my team members or partners. We make sure they have the tools they need to execute all their projects. Even though I have worked on accessibility and I have expertise, I am essentially a program manager. That is a core part of my job.
I also make sure that we are looking forward and are prepared to execute newer features. I have our team understanding what users with disabilities need. I work with our UX researchers and designers to figure out what we need to do. In the next couple quarters. Have a pipeline of items that we can work on. I drive consensus. We have people who are experts, designers and engineers. And we have all our thoughts and ideas.
One of the things I do is drive consensus. I monitor how the organization is doing on accessibility goals and generate data and reports for management. I have done a lot of meetings and help teams understand accessibility as well as unblock issues. I also concentrate quite a bit on listening to what users with disabilities say on social media, Instagram and Facebook and talk about what issues they are facing. I convert that into useful feedback for the team so they can address those issues. That's kind of -- I love my job because I get to do some technical work. I get to help teams figure out what accessibility features they need to work on and also help them unblock accessibility issues so that our users with disabilities are able to enjoy our products with the assistive technology that they use.
How about you, Mike?
Mike Shebanek:
Thanks, Kiran.
Appreciate the fact they said the year and a lot of meetings. That's probably true for all of us. Like everybody, we are doing a lot of emails, checking our chat messages. We are probably in a lot of Zoom meetings and so that is certainly the method that we used to get the work done.
What's interesting for me personally is the variety of things that happened in a single day. There is no typical day for me. People say tomorrow and yesterday, it's never the same. I most can't predict what it's going to be like the day after that. Some days I'll be talking to my team about what are the tools? Are we fast and efficient and able to find the accessibility issues before they reach a customer? What is the current state of technology for the different types of tools?
In the next hour might be giving a presentation about some new feature we have introduced for virtual reality or for Facebook app or something.
The next meeting I might be talking to somebody in an advocacy group, a leader in the industry or in the advocacy world. One of those crazy conversations landed us about, how do people who are blind, how are they going to be using things like virtual reality? Avatars. How do you want to be represented? The questions started to pop up, do you want to have a virtual cane? A virtual service dog? That's not a question I thought I was going to be talking about but we got to the place, what is the right metaphor, the right system should be thinking about? The kinds of questions they get brought to my desk and the issues, the variety is incredible. I think that's one of the things I love about it. In every case, they are fascinating.
I always learn something new. As long as you can have curiosity in this work, you'll do really, really well. As Yao was saying, you may think you know something we always learn something you didn't expect and come back with something more that's quite interesting. A lot of this is talking about sort of, what is coming in the future? I think a lot about where technology is taking us, what that means for people with disabilities? How do we make sure its inclusive experience. What kinds of investments do we need to make in terms of expertise or people or tools or technology to ensure that when we make those next-generation things, they're going to be accessible as well. The variety is pretty dramatic. That's what makes it fun.
I wonder, Debbie, if that is similar for you? I imagine it's probably quite different.
Debbie Girolamo:
Yeah, surprisingly I think it's pretty much similar. There really is no typical day. It is a hard question to answer. There were so many themes as I was listening to your responses that really resonated. Spending so much time listening, driving consensus, setting strategy. Unblocking issues and sitting in meetings. We all spend a lot of time in meetings. And also learning, continually learning, right? That's so important.
My team cover such a wide variety of areas across our product line, from product safety to integrity to accessibility. It's hard to say what's typical. There is no typical day. It's never a dull day. I would have to say the best days are the ones where I can use my knowledge from one area of expertise to help inform and improve upon another area. Like accessibility considerations key to how we share safety information on a new product or educator customers. There is no shortage of interesting legal challenges and issues as we forge ahead with our new product lines.
Speaking of new product development and new product lines and the values that help us direct our developer to products, we are very forward focused company with values like focus on long-term impact and live in the future. We are all helping to create the future. I'm curious to hear from each of you, what excites you the most about the future of accessibility at Meta?
Mike, I'm going to send this right back to you to start us off.
Mike Shebanek:
All right, thanks, Debbie.
This is what I think really attracted need to Meta to begin with. The future and what's possible. I looked at Meta and thought while Matt, they have amazing reach. I thought wow, the things they do reach billions of people. The technologies and AIN VR and mobile apps in the variety of things that are possible, it's really exciting. There is an incredible playground to work with the terms of tools and technologies but also amazing people to work with that have great ideas. You can test your ideas and figure out what makes sense. Is it something we can do? The future of accessibility generally is really bright.
We have come a long way especially the last ten or 15 years where accessibility is now very much often built into the products that we buy and use and make. In a way that really didn't happen maybe ten or 15 or 20 years ago. So that's really set the stage for the next generation of technology to be accessible. There's more people than understand the space. We need more people to come into these jobs and do this work. It's now, it's a thing. It's expected. People expect when they buy a product it should be usable by people with disabilities no matter what it is. It's a great challenge. It's a huge opportunity.
At Meta, we're laying down the foundations for future tax and we are already hard at work making websites more accessible. We can talk more about some of the work we're doing there. Working on mobile apps. Making those more accessible. We are also building out new platforms, new generations of tech and we talk about VR. This is something we are building in terms of the larger Metaverse, the digital Internet that we are talking about that is more immersive or you move and walk around and interact with it three dimensional ways rather than tapping on the screen or using a mouse or keyboard.
What is so exciting about that is none of the rules have been written. It's never been done before. The opportunity to invent, to take advantage of these technologies and solve problems that have never been solved before and make sure that those new technologies are as accessible to everyone as the current ones or even more than the current ones is really intriguing and really exciting. If you're out there listening and you are thinking it's all been done and it's well developed and there's not much more to do, that's the opposite of the truth. There is so much to be invented and so much to be done in so many opportunities which is why is exciting to be in the field and talk to people about this work. I think the future is quite incredible. I could gush on.
But maybe Kiran you can talk more about your thoughts about the future of accessible tech particularly at Meta.
Kiran Kaja:
Thanks, Mike.
I think VR, we are at an inflection point when it comes to technology. Helping people with disabilities. Mike talked about little bit how AIN machine learning can unlock great potential. There are machine learning models that can understand the physical environment, understandings inside a picture. And so on.
One of the things that excited me when I started working at Meta a little over a year ago. The sense of community. A lot of people with disabilities use social media to connect with friends, family, follow interest. Build that community. The thing that excites me is we have more awareness of disability among society than we used to when I was growing up as a child in India. I think that to me, there's a lot more to be done. There's a lot more education that needs to be done to kind of make more people who are quote-unquote nondisabled learn about disability and realize that disability is not the barrier. It is the world that's not designed to be accessible to people with disabilities. That's the real barrier. I think being able to do that through a medium like Instagram where there are creators, immensely talented creators with disabilities spreading that message to hundreds of thousands or billions of users. To me, that is the phenomenal aspect of this job and what the future holds for us.
You talk to some of the millennials and the Gen Z folks and they know a lot more about people with disabilities and how they live and the barriers they face. Then some of our older counterparts. That's the power of social media. And technology will enable us to spread that message. That's what kind of, in addition to the technology. The technology is exciting of course. I can't wait for a day when AIN machine learning would help me advocate an airport or shopping mall independently as a blind person. But I'm more excited about the human aspect of technology and the community we can build with what the technology enables. That's exciting to me.
What about you, Yao?
Yao Ding:
For me, I am most excited about AR, VR, Metaverse. For the same reason Mike said. So many intriguing questions. How will we design screen readers and VR? How do we design closed captions in the Metaverse? How do people with disabilities navigate in the Metaverse. New social norms? How can we be part of shaping it. So many questions.
I'm also excited about the potential of AR/VR, assistive technologies. Also make them more accessible, I believe assistive tech benefactors in the disability community will be -- the next generation of assistive tech, using these new technologies.
Back to you, Debbie.
Debbie Girolamo:
There's really so much to get excited about as I'm listening to everyone speaking. So many things that really resonate with me is -- as well.
I get excited about the impact on the integration, the way these new technologies can be truly integrated into our lives in a way that benefits everyone. We are wearing through our time so I'm going to go to one more question before we open it up to questions from our listeners. The last question is a bit of a look back. One of our other values is to build awesome things so out of all the awesome things you've built or lead at meta, what are you most proud of?
Kiran, I will hand it to you to go first.
Kiran Kaja:
I have been here for a little over a year but I'm incredibly proud of the work that the Instagram Accessibility team and our partner teams have done. I am a technical program manager. The work is done by folks on my team. They get the credit for launching auto generated captions, for video on Instagram. It's something that will provide access to deaf and hard of hearing folks and we are incredibly proud of that. We also made stories more accessible to screen reader users. If you haven't checked it out, you should come if you are a screen reader user. Those are the two areas I'm very excited about. Thanks to the team for doing that work.
How about you, Yao?
Yao Ding:
Thanks, Kiran. I think I am proud that I have been instrumental in strengthening Meta's capacity and accessibility research.
For example, I created the first accessibility research course which has been taken by over 100 UX researchers across Meta. I set up accessibility research panels, making it easy to recruit participants with disabilities for our user status. Also through mentoring. I helped expose people to accessibility and sparked interest early in their careers.
I hope that one day I can say every user study at Meta includes participants with disabilities. At the time, I could say I have done a really good job. I know we are on the way. We are striving for that.
I would like to hear the proudest projects from Mike.
Mike Shebanek:
Thanks, Yao.
It's like choosing among your children. Which one is your favorite? I can't do it. I want to say it this way. I think what I have been most proud of first Meta is giving back.
We could be working on accessibility to make our own products better, which is a normal thing and we have work to do there, lots of work. I think what maybe I am most proud of is the work we are doing oftentimes improves companies and industries outside our own. For example, many years ago we invested in something called teach It's an industry-wide organization. Taking the best practices of accessibility. Bring them back to higher education so students would know what's expected but also know that this work exists, there are career opportunities. What is the state-of-the-art? What do they need to know to come to these different jobs and be effective in the space? It has raised the bar in terms of knowledge and information. It has change some of the programs in the training going on. It's a really cool thing because it's going to change the vector for career opportunities and this work across the industry.
We have done things like things, react native, is used to build mobile apps. Thousands and thousands and thousands of mobile apps are based on this but we made it open sourced fully want to make sure that people were able to make the apps accessible as well. So we heavily resource that along with a lot of other companies. Coordinating that work to make sure that even for things like that that are industry-wide used and they are open sores that those are accessible as well. So that the inclusion can be everywhere. That's a big deal.
More recently we did something called lexical. It's an accessible text editor that you can embed in different products. You will see it in other places. One of the main temples, if you go to that site. Accessibility is the second one. We can treated heavily to make sure that thing that's used everywhere can be accessible.
We are working on something to the World Wide Web Consortium to create a standard that ensures interoperability between assistive technology and web browsers that will radically change the way the work is done in the future. We are doing it in an open way. It's going to change how the work gets done. It's going to unlock automation in a way that allows us to make more sites more accessible at less cost going forward. He doesn't get a lot of notoriety. The things that go on in the background the change how things are done in the industry. Couldn't be more proud for all those things.
Most importantly that we are understanding our responsibility as a leader in the space, leader in the industry, being a corporate citizen to give back and make some of the things where learning and we are aware of and doing more accessible to everyone in the industry so we can increase excess ability for people with disabilities..
Debbie Girolamo:
This was an amazing discussion and it's been really great to hear each of your perspectives on the work being done to build accessibility at Meta.
We are going turn to some questions that have come in during the event. We will do this is a bit of a speed round. We are starting to get short on time.
We received tons of questions. I don't think we are going to be able to get all of them so we will do our best to answer as many as we can. Going to jump in with the first question. Rather, we got a number of questions around the design process.
Specifically someone asked, it is relying on it alone an effective strategy for accessibility projects. How can the team better in bed accessibility in the design process. It's something that we think about quite a bit. Who would like to jump in first question asked me to let me start, I will handed over to Yao because I know he's going to have a great answer. That alone is not enough. Takes into consideration the technologies previously built and tries to extrapolate, what are the things you should consider.
We have new technologies. A good example is it didn't anticipate the mobile app space. There weren't guidelines to design it. How do you make a mobile app accessible question markets backward looking and we need to be forward-looking. We have to lean on people with disabilities as part of the process. Incorporate them through the initial considerations and the ideation all the way through to validating that we build works and that's a really key role that Yao plays.
Maybe you can talk more about incorporating people throughout the design process.
Yao Ding:
You're absolutely right. It's effective setting the baseline to make sure the products are functional to the disabled users but we want more than that. We want our products to be easy to use, fun to use. Also we have many new experiences that are not necessarily covered. Needs to be evaluated through user research.
Kiran Kaja:
I can add a couple additions.
There was a question about how do we incorporate accessibility data requirements. A lot of it is reinforcement. Most of -- folks who work on it may or may not have encountered accessibility requirements. Before they heard of it as onboarding or some sort of some sort of question randomly. I think more education and awareness including accessibility training, the basics of accessibility training in onboarding and as part of regular education curriculum is one way. You also need to reinforce the learning through including checkpoints, a checklist accessibility in your design. Many sort of review processes. So that folks who are developing new designs, as they go through the process, they are reminded that there is actually -- we need to consider the needs of users with disabilities and having that reinforcement and checkpoint, checklist from the beginning, not just before the launch.
But as designs are being made and reviewed for the first time. Having that reinforcement through a checklist or a checkpoint will make it a habit for everyone else. That's what will bring the culture change.
Debbie Girolamo:
I totally agree with that and I think adding onto that, making it easy for people. It is something that we run into a lot. Even when we talk early on about legal compliance around accessibility. Oftentimes people really want to design accessibly. They want to do the right things. They need steps they can follow to help get them there and accessible training to help out as well.
The second question, we got a handful of questions around accessibility and ability to access technology from an economic and global perspective. How is Meta thinking about this? What will this look like a Meta develops more hardware?
Anybody want to volunteer to tackle that one?
Mike Shebanek:
I can jump in on that one. We think about it a lot. We make specific versions of Facebook apps in areas where people might not have the funds to afford the latest technology, the latest model. We design versions that run on older devices. We understand the global nature of accessibility. Things like the automatic text, we can use AI and machine learning to describe what is in a photo to someone who can't see it. That technology was designed to support more than 45 languages so we understand the need to be able to provide accessibility around the world, around the globe.
As I'm sure Yao can attest, we do a lot of research around the world and around the globe because needs are different. Issues are different, policies are different so these are the types of things that we really do think about very much everyday to make sure we are not becoming too myopic on North America or even the United States in terms of how we think about his ability or accessibility or technology. And then I think in terms of, you asked about AR NVR and these new technologies.
When look at products like the stories glasses that we worked on, those are consumer oriented, consumer price, easy to access, sold in retail stores. We are working hard to make sure the technology that we develop is available as broadly as possible. I will also mention when we think about things, for an example, testing with screen readers, we make sure to test the screen readers available for no cost. So we use things like built-in voice-over and Iowa's products or talk back android. Or nonvisual desktop access to make sure those things are working well so people can't afford to buy commercial versions can but even if you can't you can still get the access to the products. Hopefully more widely available to a lot of people.
Kiran Kaja:
We are almost at time.
We have a lot of users in developing countries and they love the fact that Facebook, Instagram divide connections and access even through shorter or slower networks. So I think part of it is the fact that being able to do this, connect people, disseminate information. Almost for free. It's already a good thing.
All of the question, Ray-Ban Stories.
Debbie Girolamo:
I have one last question for everyone before return to closing.
You all are incredibly talented and probably get hit up by other recruiters and companies constantly so I have to know, why Meta and what keeps each of you here?
Mike, you first.
Mike Shebanek:
Its kind of an easy one. We talked about it before. The resources available, the reach the company has means that that the work we do impacts an incredible number of people around the globe.
I think many of us, we get up in the morning and we think, what I do today for work, I wanted to matter. I wanted to make a difference. We heard some stories earlier about people whose lives are different because they had a community that they found on Facebook or they are able to share and maybe even sell things on Instagram or they're able to keep in touch with their friends and their family and the work that we do makes a huge difference to them. I think sometimes we forget that people with disabilities have families, they are friends. They have colleagues. It matters to that social graph, that set of people. When you start to think that through, you realize that the work we do here is really affecting all of those people.
We are all in this together. So it matters that they are part of our family and part of our work environment. Or they are friends that we hang out with. They can be part of what we do so I think each of us individually feels that really intensely every day that we do the work and it's incredibly rewarding. What better place to do it than a place that has the technology, the resources, the reach and wants us to do this work, even better. It's really cool.
Kiran, do you want to add to that?
Kiran Kaja:
I mention it's the impact our products have. A lot of people with disabilities have said they use social media and it's a great way for us to connect people.
One thing that I would add to what you said is the great bunch of people, the colleagues I have. Mike. A lot of respect for someone like Mike. A lot of accessibility projects. It is the chance to work with smart people on my team and the rest of the company. That to me is also an incredibly great thing. A great motivator to work at Meta.
Debbie Girolamo:
Yao, how about you?
Yao Ding:
I have a similar answer. I answer this question many times when I interviewed for Meta and when I first joined. The answer is still holding true. I have been fortunate to see firsthand how technology empowers people with disabilities to connect. Express themselves in new and different ways. I'm able to make such an impact on billions of people around the world and work with people like Mike, Debbie, Kiran, driven by the same mission. Incredibly rewarding and I never regretted the decision.
Debbie Girolamo:
Fantastic. I have to agree. I have to answer this one myself fairly quickly as well. I think it really is all about the people in the incredible impact we can have and having the chance to build future together. There really is an incredible community here that cuts across so many different teams.
So thank you, everyone, so much for participating today, for listening. That wraps up our panel for today. Thank you again to our panelists and to everyone who has joined us. I hope you were inspired by the stories is, experiences and topics that we shared.
If you're interested in joining us in this work, had to and check out our Facebook page. We will be emailing you a postevent survey to hear your thoughts. If you'd like to complete it now you can head to, this is a long one
Thanks again, everyone. See you next time.
--End Transcript--

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