Facebook Employees Were Listening to Messenger Voice Recordings

Mark Zuckerberg makes his keynote speech during Facebook Inc's annual F8 developers conference in San Jose

Mark Zuckerberg makes his keynote speech during Facebook Inc's annual F8 developers conference in San Jose Credit Stephen Lam Reuters

Earlier this month, Apple Inc and Alphabet Inc's Google globally suspended reviewing recordings from users interacting with their voice assistants, as concerns over data privacy mount. The company announced that “much like Apple and Google, we paused human review of audio more than a week ago.”.

Apple and Google have since said they would no longer use human reviewers to improve speech recognition and Amazon said it would let users opt out of the practice. The social network has admitted to hiring hundreds of external contractors to listen in and transcribe audio clips taken from its users' Messenger app.

The company didn't specify what it did with the audio afterwards. That led some of the workers to believe their work was "unethical", especially when some of the conversations included vulgar material.

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At least one firm reviewing user conversations is TaskUs, a Santa Monica, California-based outsourcing firm with outposts around the world, the people said. They call the client by the code name "Prism".

Facebook has come under fire once more, and unsurprisingly, it's because of a breach of privacy.

Last week, a federal appeals court rejected Facebook's effort to undo a class action lawsuit claiming that it illegally collected and stored biometric data for millions of users without their consent.

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Now playing: Watch this: Is Facebook spying on you? It includes no mention of other human beings screening the content. Even the list of third parties who might potentially receive users' information doesn't explicitly include human transcription teams, only "vendors and service providers who support our business" by "analyzing how our products are used". Machines are getting better at the task but sometimes still struggle with the unfamiliar.

Zuckerberg never disclosed that Facebook was sending recordings to third party contractors.

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