It became a tour: the Facebook released access to several voice messages from Messenger for outsourced employees, who were in charge of listening to them and transcribing them; the goal was to improve the artificial intelligence tool that makes automatic conversion to text. The social network says it stopped this practice “more than a week ago”, following in the footsteps of Google and Apple.
According to Bloomberg, hundreds of employees at outsourced company TaskUs were receiving voice messages from Messenger for transcription. They listened to users’ private conversations, including “vulgar content”.
Facebook confirms that it was transcribing users’ audio, and says it will no longer do so. The affected users had activated the “Voice to text” feature, and officials helped to verify that the artificial intelligence transcript was correct.
The “Voice to text” function has been tested since 2015 in English: you hold a voicemail in Messenger for Android or iOS, tap on Transcribe and watch the conversion of audio to text. You can also enable this for all messages in a conversation.
However, Facebook implied that the process was completely automatic, and never made it clear that those audios could be heard by someone outside the conversation. In addition, if one part of the conversation activates “Voice to text”, messages from both people could be analyzed by employees.
THE Facebook data policy says: “our systems automatically process the content and communications that you and others provide in order to analyze the context and content included in those items”. There is no mention of human analysis.
The terms are very vague regarding the transfer of your data to third parties: “we provide information and content to suppliers and service providers that make the operation of our business viable … analyzing how our Products are used”.
Apple and Google also let humans hear audios
“Like Apple and Google, we stopped human audio analysis more than a week ago,” says Facebook. THE Apple used outsourced employees to listen to Siri recordings and identify inaccurate responses; the company suspended this practice.
O Google he was also using contractors to transcribe Assistant recordings in Belgium and the Netherlands; after the case was revealed, the company stopped doing so in the European Union.
THE Amazon has humans analyzing Alexa recordings, and has added an option to prevent third parties from listening to those audios. THE Microsoft was caught adopting the same technique on Skype Translator and Cortana commands: the company did not interrupt this practice, Motherboard that “obtains permission from customers before collecting and using their voice data”.
With information: Bloomberg.