Facebook has confirmed that it hired outside contractors to transcribe voice messages sent via its Messenger app in order to check the work of its AI systems.
The company spokesperson said they had “paused” the practice “more than a week ago” after other companies’ audio listening attracted scrutiny from the press.
Facebook claims that contractors has listened to audio messages from users who agreed to transcribe clips of audio in Facebook Messenger. However, Bloomberg notes that users are nowhere to be warned that third parties can listen to their voice messages.
According to Bloomberg, sometimes, contractors has listened to clips with vulgar content for checking whether the AI had transcribed them correctly.
It is the latest major tech firm to be caught listening to users’ messages without their explicit knowledge, following similar revelations about Amazon, Google and Apple.