After long denying such a practice, Facebook admits having transcribed sound recordings of conversations – with the authorization of users.
One more scandal for Facebook. The Bloomberg agency revealed Tuesday that the social networking giant was using contractors to transcribe audio clips of private conversations of users on Messenger. The goal, as always: to better customize and target its ads and information feeds.<
Mark Zuckerberg had long denied using such a practice. “Just like Apple or Google, we have frozen the practice of listening to sound recordings by humans last week,” says the social network today. Asked by AFP, Facebook did not respond immediately on this new controversy, a year and a half after the revelations Cambridge Analytica .
How was Facebook doing?
The multinational explains that it was authorized to transcribe their conversation by users of its Messenger application. Only, according to Bloomberg, the company did not specify what it did then recordings.
Subcontractors, whose task was to check whether the artificial intelligence of the network correctly interpreted the messages that had been made anonymous, were also not aware of the use made of these transcripts. According to Bloomberg, these employees were worried about the ethical implications of their work.
What was said then Zuckerberg
Facebook, which has just paid a record $ 5 billion fine to the US federal authorities for misusing the private data of its users, has long denied using audio recordings to better target its ads or make its pages more attractive.
The founder and CEO of the social networking giant rejected the idea even at a congressional hearing on April 2018.
“You’re talking about a circulating conspiracy theory that says we’re listening to what’s going on in your mike and we’re using it for advertising,” the young billionaire told a question from Senator Gary Peters. “We do not do that,” he replied firmly. Later, Facebook had specified that it accesses the microphone of a user only if the latter had given permission to the application.
Not the first
Amazon, Apple and Google, all selling voice assistants, had already acknowledged doing the same to improve the answers of their applications. Apple and Google have said they have dropped the practice in recent weeks.
Amazon gives users the choice to block the use of their exchanges with Alexa, the artificial intelligence that drives their Echo voice assistants.