Facebook, much like Amazon, Google and Apple, has been paying contractors to transcribe snippets of its users’ speech.
According to Time, a source closely involved in the work claimed that they had been given sound file to work on, but not told where they’d come from.
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Facebook has confirmed that it did indeed commission the work, but says that it halted the program after the eavesdropping of other tech companies started to hit the headlines.
“Much like Apple and Google, we paused human review of audio more than a week ago,” a company spokesperson said.
Facebook was also keen to point out that the messages were only transcribed to check that they were being interpreted correctly by its speech recognition software. Only users who had opted into the program had their speech transcribed, and that all snippets were anonymized so there was no way of linking an audio file to a specific user.
It’s no surprise that Facebook acted preemptively – the company suffered a serious blow to its reputation following the 2018