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Aug 14 2019

Facebook Paid to Have Video Chats Transcribed

facebook is listening

Facebook is Listening

Did you ever mention something to a friend and moments later see an ad related to that very comment on your Facebook or Instagram feed? At this point, we’ve all experienced something like this.

Well, Facebook is in the news again this week and it looks like they’re listening.

Yesterday, Bloomberg news reported that hundreds of transcribers with no knowledge of where the audio originated from or how it was obtained were being paid by Facebook to transcribe audio from Facebook video chats.

Facebook released a statement in response to the allegations on Tuesday stating, “Much like Apple and Google, we paused human review of audio more than a week ago.”

In other words, they confirmed the fact that they had been transcribing audio obtained from Facebook users, but have now ceased.

According to Bloomberg, “Facebook hadn’t disclosed to users that third parties may review their audio. That’s led some contractors to feel their work is unethical, according to the people with knowledge of the matter.”

Will Facebook Ever Change?

Nowadays, it’s rare that we go a month without seeing Facebook in the news. This particular news is somewhat surprising, however.

How many times has Facebook said that they don’t keep our audio? Not only are they keeping it, but they’re having actual human beings transcribe it.

According to Facebook, the users affected had chosen this option within Facebook Messenger’s settings.

I don’t know about you, but this reminds me of that time when Facebook began displaying users’ phone numbers without their consent.

Given Facebook’s track record, this pattern of keeping and using user data in dishonest ways doesn’t seem to be going away any time soon.

At the same time, given that Facebook monthly active user numbers have seen an increase of 8% year over year, it appears that Facebook won’t be going away any time soon either.

Learn more about How Facebook is Listening

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