Business_news Facebook has been collecting audio from some voice chats on Messenger and paying contractors to listen to and transcribe them (FB)

Business_news

  • Facebook has collected the audio data from some users’ voice chats and sent it to third-party contractors to transcribe, Bloomberg reported Tuesday.
  • The company said told Bloomberg it only collected audio data from users who opted into having their chats transcribed.
  • But the company doesn’t mention in its data use policies that it collects audio or that it sends the data to third-parties, according to Bloomberg.
  • The report comes as Facebook has been under scrutiny for its privacy policies and just agreed to pay the government a $5 billion fine for allegedly violating a prior agreement regarding its use of customers’ data.
  • Visit business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Facebook has been collecting audio from users’ voice chats and paying outside contractors to transcribe them, Bloomberg’s Sarah Frier reported on Tuesday.

Users affected are those that opted into having their voice chats transcribed, Facebook told Bloomberg. But the company doesn’t disclose in its data-use policies that it collects audio from users or that it sends such data to human transcribers, Bloomberg reported.

Facebook collects and has contractors transcribe the audio data to check the accuracy of its automated speech recognition systems, according to Bloomberg. The company said it recently “paused” the practice, according to the report.

Some of the contractors involved in transcribing the data felt what they were doing was unethical, because Facebook hadn’t informed users that they would have access to the users’ audio data, according to the report.

Facebook representatives did not immediately respond to an email from business Insider seeking comment.

The report comes as Facebook’s privacy practices have been under intense scrutiny. Last month, the company agreed to pay a $5 billion fine to settle an investigation by the Federal Trade Commission into whether it had violated the terms of a previous agreement in how it handled users’ data. Last week, business Insider reported that Hyp3r, a marketing firm, had been harvesting large amounts of user data, including location information, from Facebook-owned Instagram.

Got a tip about Facebook or another tech company? Contact this reporter via email at twolverton@businessinsider.com, message him on Twitter @troywolv, or send him a secure message through Signal at 415.515.5594. You can also contact business Insider securely via SecureDrop.