Facebook has confirmed that the company is always transcribe user audio and says it will not do it again.

Editor’s note: This article is from Artesyn Technologies , Author: Deer.

According to foreign media reports, according to informed sources, similar to Apple, Google, Amazon and other technology giants, Facebook has also been hiring hundreds of external contractors, allowing them to transcribe the audio segments of their service users. In this regard, Facebook has acknowledged the existence of such behavior and said that it has stopped such work.

Informed sources said that the work made the contractors feel uneasy. They were not told where the audio was recorded, nor were they told how they got it, just transcribed. These people are asking to remain anonymous because they are worried about losing their jobs. They hear conversations from Facebook users, sometimes even seemingly vulgar, but don’t know why Facebook needs to transcribe these conversations.

After being reviewed by companies such as Apple, Google, and Amazon, Facebook has confirmed that the company is always transcribing users’ audio and saying it will not do so. The company said on Tuesday: “Like Apple and Google, we suspended manual audio review more than a week ago.” Facebook pointed out that affected users have opted for the option in the Facebook Messenger app to allow their voice chats to be recorded. . The contractor is checking whether Facebook’s artificial intelligence correctly interprets the anonymous information.

Large technology companies, including Amazon, Microsoft, Apple, and Google, have been attacked by collecting audio clips from consumer computing devices and placing them under manual review, which critics say privacy. For the first time in April, Amazon reported that there are thousands of employees around the world who are listening to Alexa’s audio requests to improve the software.

Apple’s Siri and Alphabet’s Google Assistant also use a similar manual review. Apple and Google have since said that they will not continue this practice, Amazon said it will allow users to opt out of manual review.

After investigating its privacy practices, Facebook has just reached a $5 billion settlement with the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC). For a long time, Facebook has always denied that it collects user audio to locate ads or help determine what people see in their news feeds. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg directly denied this when he testified in the US Congress.law.

Zuckerberg told US Senator Gary Peters in April 2018: “You are talking about a conspiracy theory that spreads, it claims that we will monitor your microphone, then Use it to advertise. But in fact, we won’t do that.”

In a follow-up reply to the US Congress, Facebook said that the company “only if the user has given us an application to authorize, and they are actively using certain features that require audio (such as voice messaging features), The user’s microphone will be accessed.” But Facebook did not explain the problem that occurred after getting the audio.

After the above content was exposed, Facebook’s share price retreated. At 3:30 pm local time on Tuesday, the stock rose 1.6% in New York stocks to $188.37, up from 3.2% earlier.

Facebook did not disclose to users that third parties may review their audio content. According to people familiar with the matter, this has led many contractors to feel that their work is unethical.

Informed sources said that companies reviewing user conversations include Taskus, an outsourcing company based in Santa Monica, Calif., with offices around the world. Facebook is one of Taskus’s largest and most important customers, but employees are not allowed to publicly mention who their work is for. They call customers by code.

Facebook also uses Taskus to review content that may violate policy, and the Taskus team is also responsible for screening election preparations and political advertisements, although some of them have recently been transferred to a new transcription team.

Technology giants including Alphabet, Amazon and Facebook are facing unresolved issues in their latest earnings reports. Cyrus Mewawalla, managing director of GlobalData Research, said the potential spin-off is the biggest risk for both companies and investors.

The revised Facebook data usage policy last year made the public more understandable, but there was no mention of audio content processing. However, Facebook does say that when users “send messages or communicate with others,” Facebook collects “content, communications, and other information you provide.”

Facebook said that the company’s “system will automatically handle the content and communications provided by you and others to analyze context and content.” But it does not include hiring others to filter content. In a list of “the types of third parties we share information with”, Facebook did not mention the transcription team, but by “analysing how our products are used”, vaguely mentioned “suppliers and service providers that support our business” Business.”

Human in the analysis recordingIts role highlights the limitations of AI’s ability to recognize words and speech patterns. Machines are getting better and better on this task, but sometimes they are still limited by their unfamiliar content. Some contractors found the recorded content to be disturbing, which further reminds people that the human cost of controlling content on Facebook, the world’s largest social network, is very high.

Facebook first began requesting Messenger users to allow their audio to be transcribed in 2015. David Marcus, the executive at the time who was responsible for the Messenger service, posted on Facebook: “We have been trying to make Messenger more useful.”