Attack of the CAPTCHA

This is an email I actually sent to


Dear Facebook,

When I signed up for my account, I needed sighted assistance, as I am blind and use a screen reader. During sign up, I was told that if I replied to a text message and proved I was human, I would never ever get a CAPTCHA again. My friend helped me reply to the text message and I never received another CAPTCHA.

Until now.

I tried to update my status, and it is telling me to do a security check and solve the CAPTCHA. I tried logging off and back on. Same problem. I use, because your full site is not accessible to me, or I should say, incredibly difficult.

I promptly sent an email to my email list of other blind folks who Facebook, and they are experiencing the same problem. One of the members has some vision, but after 7 attempts, could not solve the CAPTCHA. She was however able to update her status on the main site. She is luckier than I.

This is not acceptable. Many blind and visually impaired folks use your mobile site to connect with friends and family. This problem needs to be resolved. An audio CAPTCHA isn’t even available, but still would not be a solution, as many of us can’t solve them anyway, and some of us are deaf as well as blind.

I hope I did not come across too rude. I made myself calm down before emailing you.


I am so angry right now.


Filed under accessibility, advocacy, CAPTCHA, letters, NaBloPoMo 2009, rant, screen reader

12 Responses to Attack of the CAPTCHA

  1. UGH! I can’t even imagine how frustrating that is for you! I hate CAPTCHA and I can see!!

    Hopefully Facebook got several similar emails and will make their site more accessible for you.

  2. You didn’t come off rude at all. I wish more people would write emails that reasonable when advocating for something. Hopefully you’ll actually get a response.

    I don’t know a whole lot about Facebook because I don’t use it, but that seems like a pretty stupid place to put a CAPTCHA. I’m not sure what it accomplishes. If it’s security it needs to be thought through again, because if you’re updating your status you’re obviously already logged in. If somebody has gotten to the point where he’s stolen your password and broken into your profile, odds are good the little letter number picture isn’t going to slow him down a whole bunch. and if it was done for any other reason…then they’re just tools.

  3. Awesome. Grrr stupidity. That is the dumbest security check I’ve ever heard of. If you’re already logged in, then you can probably handle some letters and numbers. Oy yoy yoy.

    I hope you get a response. If it was just a one-time deal and you trusted me, I’d solve it for ya, but if it’s going to come up *every* time you want to change your status, that ain’t gonna fly. Stupid Facebook tools, and I’m not talking about applications.

  4. Ro

    They were pretty prompt in replying last time, so I hope I hear from them. I think its gotta be a freak accident or something because yeah, the placement isn’t right, and it just does not make sense. I haven’t tested it yet this morning. I hope others wrote too. Power in numbers.

  5. If I had facebook, I’d be on their tails.

    That reminds me. I still have to write a comment to Ms. Function.

  6. Ro

    I figured out that its only when I try to link to that I get the captcha, so I emailed FB again.

    Good luck with Miss Function lol!

  7. Can you put links in another place, like in a links I like or on your wall? Then all you’d have to say in your status is “GDHAW’s blog-a-thon is going well, go visit them, see link on wall or in links bar” and avoid putting a link in your status at all. Maybe they’re trying to stop the automated bots who have compromised an account from using the status as a spam method. and maybe the mobile folks are the test guinea pigs, squeak squeak.

  8. Ro

    Oh, if thats the case, and FB tells me thats the case, then sure. I would understand that. But I want to know if thats whats going on. I didn’t put an apostophe in that’s. I just felt it lol.

    You know, FB always deletes my links to my blog? Even in just messages.

  9. Really? super wacked!

  10. Ro

    Btw, boy did you open a can of worms asking about captchas on webaim. Be prepared for lots of emails, and some might not be so nice 😉

  11. Yeah people get silly about captchas. I’m on another list and whenever they come out, snark e snark and the funk e bunch come out to play. Ah well, maybe something good will come out of it. I was going to say thank god for filters…and then I remembered you can’t do that yet. Now I just gotta say sorry you have to suffer through snark e snark in your inbox. At least he’s confined to my webaim folder.

  12. Ro

    Actually that first comment was really nice. I’ll most likely just delete them all since I’ve already read this topic lol.

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