Reset the counter on “number of days since the last Facebook privacy scandal.”
Facebook has become the latest tech giant to face scrutiny over its handling of users’ audio, following a report that said the social media giant collected audio from its users and transcribed it using third-party contractors.
The report came from Bloomberg, citing the contractors who requested anonymity for fear of losing their jobs.
According to the report, it’s not known where the audio came from or why it was transcribed, but that Facebook users’ conversations were often matched against to see if they were properly interpreted by the company’s artificial intelligence.
Facebook has since stopped the practice.
We’ve asked Facebook several questions, including how the audio was collected, for what reason it was transcribed, and why users weren’t explicitly told of the third-party transcription, but did not immediately hear back.
Facebook becomes the latest tech company to face questions about its use of third-party contractors and staff to review user audio.
Amazon saw the initial round of flak for allowing contractors to manually review Alexa recordings without express user permission, forcing the company to add an opt-out to its Echo devices. Google also faced the heat for allowing human review of audio data, along with Apple which used contractors to listen to seemingly private Siri recordings. Microsoft also listened to some Skype calls made through the company’s app translation feature.
It’s been over a year since Facebook last had a chief security officer in the wake of Alex Stamos’ departure.