Facebook has been collecting audio from some voice chats on Messenger and paying contractors to listen to and transcribe it

Facebook has been collecting audio from some voice chats on Messenger and paying contractors to listen to and transcribe it

  • Facebook has collected the audio data from some users’ voice chats and sent it to third-party contractors to transcribe, Bloomberg reported Tuesday. 
  • Facebook told Bloomberg it collected audio data only from users who opted into having their chats transcribed. 
  • But the company does not mention in its data-use policies that it collects audio or sends the data to third parties, according to Bloomberg. 
  • The report comes as Facebook has been under scrutiny for its privacy policies and recently agreed to pay the government a $5 billion fine in connection with its use of customers’ data.

Facebook has been collecting audio from users’ voice chats and paying outside contractors to transcribe it, Bloomberg’s Sarah Frier reported on Tuesday.

Users affected are those who opted into having their voice chats transcribed, Facebook told Bloomberg. 

But the company doesn’t disclose in its data-use policies that it collects audio from users or that it sends such data to people to transcribe, Bloomberg reported.

Facebook collects and has contractors transcribe the audio data to check the accuracy of its automated speech-recognition systems, according to Bloomberg. The company said it had recently “paused” the practice, the report added.

Some contractors involved in transcribing the data said they felt what they were doing was unethical because Facebook hadn’t informed users that they would have access to the users’ audio data, the report went on. 

Facebook representatives did not immediately respond to an email from Business Insider seeking comment. 

The report comes as Facebook’s privacy practices have been under intense scrutiny. Last month, the company agreed to pay a $5 billion fine to settle an investigation by the Federal Trade Commission into whether it had violated the terms of a previous agreement in how it handled users’ data. 

Last week, Business Insider reported that Hyp3r, a marketing firm, had been in violation of the social-media platform’s policies regarding the Facebook-owned Instagram.

Courtesy of Business Insider

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