The social media giant, Facebook admitted that it has been listening in on some users’ conversations.
Facebook admitted that it had been employing third-party contractors to transcribe the audio messages that users exchanged on its Messenger app, following an investigation by Bloomberg.
The company isn’t randomly turning on your microphone to sell you more targeted ads, as some conspiracy theories have asserted.
So what was Facebook’s excuse for listening to users’ audio? Everyone else was doing it.
The practice was ‘very common in tech’, when media reports revealed that Amazon, Apple, Google, and Microsoft were all capturing and listening to audio from users’ devices, a Facebook spokesperson told VICE News.
The company said the messages used were “totally de-identified audio snippets used to improve AI transcription of messages from people who had opted into transcription on Messenger.”
According to a statement by Facebook, the practice has now been stopped, at least temporarily.
There is no indication that the company has used the information it collected to sell ads.
In April, Bloomberg reported that Amazon was employing thousands of people to listen to what users say to its Alexa-powered speakers.
Recently, Belgian broadcaster VRT obtained more than 1,000 audio recordings captured by Google, and the company admitted that the recordings underwent human review.
The Guardian revealed that Apple captured what its users were telling Siri, and reviewed those recordings to grade Siri’s responses.
Facebook said, the data was stripped of any identifying information and was only used to improve their products, and not to help tailor ads to users.
The social media giant says it followed the lead of other companies to “limit human review of non-public audio.”
By: Abhinav Ranjan, Editorial Desk, DKODING Media