Posting a red flag meme has unintended consequences for disabled users

The red flag meme is taking over Twitter right now - but there may be unintended consequences (Getty)

The red flag meme is sweeping social media right now, with the popular emoji being used as a warning sign.

If someone is posting about a big issue or a problem – they start adding red flags as a sign of importance.

But there’s an unintended consequence that’s annoying to a lot of disabled social media users.

Screen readers help those who are blind or visually impaired understand the content.

They’re built into operating systrems and many commercial apps and rely on meta descriptions for images.

But anyone who employs the screen reader accessibility settings may end up muting the emoji out of sheer frustration.

Because most users don’t post just one red flag emoji, they post several.

“@Cristiano isn’t the 🐐” 🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩

When the screen reader kicks in, crawling the website/post/article and converting it into speech, it reads out each individual flag.

Your red flag tweet? About accessibility? It could BE a red flag that makes disabled folks unfollow you. This is how screen readers read it:

triangular flag triangular flag triangular flag triangular flag triangular flag triangular flag triangular flag triangular flag

Annoying, right?

Thankfully, there is a way to mute keywords, hashtags or even emojis on Twitter. Here’s how to do it:

  • Go to your Notifications tab.
  • Tap the gear icon.
  • Tap Muted, then tap Muted words.
  • Tap Add.
  • Type in the word or hashtag you’d like to mute. …
  • Select whether to enable this in Home timeline or Notifications, or both.
  • Select whether this is From anyone or From people you don’t follow (for enabled notifications only).

While this is an optional workaround, it’s likely a pain for anyone who needs the accessibility settings turned on.

A better way of dealing with it, is to maybe just limit yourself to one red flag emoji next time you feel the need to deploy the meme.

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