Facebook hired human contractors to transcribe audio in its Messenger app

Facebook confirmed that it had stopped listening to users' audio more than a week ago


Facebook Inc has been paying outside contractors to transcribe audio clips from users of its services, Bloomberg reported on Tuesday, citing people familiar with the matter.

Facebook hired human contractors to transcribe audio in its Messenger app

Attendees walk past a Facebook logo during Facebook's F8 developers conference. Image: Reuters.

The company confirmed that it had been transcribing users’ audio and said it was no longer doing so, Bloomberg reported.

Facebook did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

Bloomberg, citing the company, reported that the users who were affected chose the option in the Messenger app to have their voice chats transcribed. The contractors were checking whether Facebook’s artificial intelligence correctly interpreted the messages.

Shares of Facebook pared gains after the report and were up 1.66 percent at $188.44.

The social media company has been facing broad criticism from lawmakers and regulators over its privacy practices.

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. The company also agreed to pay a record $5 billion fine last month to settle a U.S. Federal Trade Commission data privacy probe.

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.

Find our entire collection of stories, in-depth analysis, live updates, videos & more on Chandrayaan 2 Moon Mission on our dedicated #Chandrayaan2TheMoon domain.