Bloomberg reports that Facebook contractors were listening to and transcribing select voice conversations that were held using its Facebook Messenger chat platform. The company reportedly had the contractors transcribe chats to improve artificial intelligence.
Apple recently halted a program that allowed employees to listen to a small percentage of Siri voice requests, which are often otherwise handled directly on the device. Google stopped doing the same in Europe where, as in the U.S., Google Assistant queries are sent to the cloud for processing. Amazon does the same for Alexa, but recently rolled out tools that let users opt out of having their questions analysed by humans.
Facebook has now announced that the practice had been halted “more than a week ago”.