Technology: Facebook listened to users' conversations: report - PressFrom - US
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TechnologyFacebook listened to users' conversations: report

12:30  14 august  2019
12:30  14 august  2019 Source:   msn.com

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Facebook has paid hundreds of contractors to listen to and transcribe snippets of users ' conversations , US media reported on Tuesday, amid heightened scrutiny Facebook acknowledged the transcriptions, which were first reported by Bloomberg, telling the news agency in a statement

Facebook maintains that it never listens to actual private conversations of mobile phone users , rather it listens for background sounds. According to the social network’s spokesperson: “ Facebook does not use microphone audio to inform advertising or News Feed stories in any way.

Facebook has paid hundreds of contractors to listen to and transcribe snippets of users' conversations, US media reported on Tuesday, amid heightened scrutiny of the social network's data collection practices.

Facebook listened to users' conversations: report© JUSTIN SULLIVAN / AFP Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaking during the F8 Facebook Developers conference in San Jose, California.

Facebook acknowledged the transcriptions, which were first reported by Bloomberg, telling the news agency in a statement that they were made with users' permission, but that the practice has nonetheless been stopped.

"Much like Apple and Google, we paused human review of audio more than a week ago," the company said.

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Facebook did not respond to a request for comment from AFP.

The contractors were testing the ability of the social network's artificial intelligence to interpret messages, and the only users affected were those on Facebook Messenger app who had opted to have their voice chats transcribed.

Bloomberg said the contractors working on the project were "rattled" by listening to private audio whose origin wasn't disclosed and which sometimes contained vulgar content.

The contractors also weren't told the reason why they were doing the transcribing, the news agency reported.

Amazon, Apple and Google -- all companies offering voice assistants -- have previously acknowledged collecting conversations for the purpose of improving their products.

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Suspicions that Facebook listens to its users ’ conversations have been swirling for years, prompting statements of denial from Zuckerberg condescendingly called the idea that Facebook is listening in via phone mics a “conspiracy theory.” But users are confused because Facebook has so far refused

Tap Report Conversation > Report Conversation to send the conversation to us for review. To report impersonation on Facebook , please visit the When you report a secret conversation , recent messages from that conversation will be decrypted and sent securely from your device to our Help

Apple and Google have in recent weeks said they've halted the practice, while Amazon gives users the option of blocking the collection of their voice by Alexa, the artificial intelligence driving their Echo voice assistant.

Facebook, which just settled a record $5 billion fine with the US Federal Trade Commission for misusing users' private data, has given differing responses to reports that it uses audio recordings to better target ads or make its pages more attractive.

"You're talking about this conspiracy theory that gets passed around that we listen to what's going on on your microphone and use that for ads," Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in US Senate testimony last year.

"We don't do that," he said.

But the company later told lawmakers in writing that it does actually collect conversations if users have specifically allowed it to do so and are using certain audio features.

The company didn't specify what it did with the audio afterwards.

Facebook ends human review of user audio after other companies do the same.
Facebook is now the latest tech giant to put a stop to human review of user audio recordings, following a slew of companies from Google to Amazon and Apple all likewise coming under fire in recent weeks over the human review of audio collected from users. In Facebook's case, the company acknowledged Tuesday that it paused the practice earlier this month after those other companies started to attract scrutiny over basically the same thing. That's

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