Facebook Has Contractors Who Secretly Transcribe Users’ Voice Recordings

Posted: Aug 13 2019, 10:46pm CDT | by , in Technology News


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Facebook has contractors who secretly transcribe users’ voice recordings
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Apple, Amazon and Google have been the subject of criticism over the recent weeks for their similar work.

Facebook has been added to the growing list of tech companies that are in hot water over their strategy of collecting audio recordings taken from users’ smartphones and other connected devices.

Last month, I4U News reported about a whistleblower who told The Guardian about Apple’s hiring of third-party contractors who regularly listen to users’ confidential recordings for grading purposes.

According to the earlier report, the contractors listen in on conversations such as drug deals, talks with doctors to discuss medical information and in some occassions, couples having sex.

About a week later, Apple temporarily suspended all assessments of Siri recordings by its hired contractors after the revelations made by the whistleblower were criticized by authorities and by users.

The reports have also placed other companies who offer voice assistants including Amazon and Google, who also changed their policies.

Most recently, Bloomberg News reported that Amazon has also been hiring third-party contractors to transcribe clips of audio that were recorded from users’ devices. The sources reportedly said that California-based outsourcing company TaskUs Inc. is among the contractors that Facebook has hired.

The report, which cited people with knowledge of the work, said the contractors have no idea how the recordings were obtained and that their only job was to transcribe them to identify if the social media company’s artificial intelligence correctly interpreted the messages.

The sources told the news outlet that the recordings often contain vulgar content.

In response to the claims, Facebook told Bloomberg: “Much like Apple and Google, we paused human review of audio more than a week ago,” adding that users who were affected have opted to have their voice chats transcribed.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson from TaskUs told the news outlet “Facebook asked TaskUs to pause this work over a week ago, and it did.”

The report said Facebook has been strongly defending its privacy policies, saying it does not collect audio from users to target ads or to influence what people see in their news feeds

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/81" rel="author">Mandy Jean</a>
Mandy covers the latest news in Tech and Business.




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