Facebook paid people to listen, transcribe Messenger callsLast updated on Aug 14, 2019, 01:31 pm
WhatsApp offers end-to-end encryption to keep messages secured between the sender and receiver.
The feature makes one of the biggest highlights of the messaging service but is not available for Facebook Messenger, at least not by default.
Now, Bloomberg has revealed that this arrangement allowed the social network to capture Messenger voice calls and get them transcribed by human reviewers.
More details follow.
Voice call transcription by Facebook contractors
A few hours ago, the folks at Bloomberg reported that Facebook had hired contractors to listen to Messenger voice chats.
The people heard these conversations to transcribe the recordings and rate how accurately the company's AI had been interpreting conversations happening on the platform.
Notably, similar kind of practice has also been followed by Amazon, Apple, and Google to train their voice assistants.
Facebook has now halted the recording
After the report surfaced, Facebook confirmed the practice and claimed that manual audio transcription was halted last week itself.
The company said it paused the practice in response to the concerns being raised over other companies' transcription efforts.
Plus, it claimed the data came from people who voluntarily opted for transcription and was completely anonymized before reaching the contractors.
Some transcribers received vulgar material in the recordings
The report cited multiple sources to note that some of the workers involved in the transcription practice considered the work unethical because it included vulgar recordings.
They were not given basic details by the company, like where the audio recordings came from or why were they listening to and transcribing it.
This created major transparency issues between the company and the contractors.
This makes another bad case for Facebook
To recall, the social network has already been battling a range of privacy and security-related issues and was recently charged with $5 billion fine by the Federal Trade Commission over last year's Cambridge Analytica scandal.