Facebook has halted ‘human review’ of audio chats

Facebook said that it had halted the “human review” of recorded voice messages, becoming the latest big technology platform to shun the practice following a backlash from privacy critics.

The social media network said on Tuesday that it had “paused human review of audio more than a week ago”.

The statement came shortly after a report from Bloomberg claimed the company had been using outside contractors to transcribe certain audio clips and that some staff at those third parties had heard “vulgar content” and were uncomfortable with their involvement in the practice.

Facebook said that its audio review practice was designed only to help improve products, including the AI that would transcribe messages from people who had consented to having the audio they shared in its Messenger app transcribed.

The company follows in the footsteps of Apple and Google, who said this month that they would pause the transcription of recordings made using their Siri and Assistant digital assistant apps respectively.

Facebook said on Tuesday that the audio snippets had been masked so that the identity of those speaking was not revealed to those transcribing them. It added that it had never listened to microphones without device permission and explicit user agreement.

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