All Facebook Tells Chat Users Nothing About Human Listeners

All Facebook Tells Chat Users Nothing About Human Listeners Facebook doesn’t tell chat users anything about human listeners. Facebook’s controversy of listening and recording to transcribe some users’ audio clips may not involve humans at all.

Facebook Inc. confirmed this week that it was running a program to allow contractors to listen to and transcribe some users’ audio clips. The social network said that the only people affected were those who agreed to transcribe their audio messages.

Facebook Tells Chat Human Listeners

Facebook Tells Chat Human Listeners

That makes it appear that users agreed that their chats be read by third parties. But based on a look at the pop-up dialog box of Messenger permissions, they did not.

In the mobile Messenger application, as soon as someone sends a voice message, you receive a message asking: “Activate voice to text in this chat?” On the “No” and “Yes” buttons, Facebook describes the option: “Text screen of the voice clips that you send and receive. You can control whether the text is visible to you in each chat.”

Human participation is not mentioned. Even on a separate information page in the application dedicated to understanding voice to text, Facebook explains that users can deactivate it for each chat and asks people to use it more. “Voice to Text uses machine learning,” he says. “The more you use this function, the more voice to text can help you.” There is no explanation that machine learning does not only involve software code.

Companies like Apple Inc., Amazon.com Inc., and Google have relied on humans to verify and improve their artificial intelligence systems, they are simply not telling their users about it. That is a critical period at a time when all companies, especially Facebook, face regulatory scrutiny for privacy breaches. The Irish Data Protection Commissioner, who enforces the privacy laws of the European Union, said he was investigating Facebook’s transcription practices.

“AI is not yet at the level where I can interpret human conversation,” which means that companies must rely on monitoring to help train systems, said Jennifer King, director of consumer privacy at the Center of Internet and Society of Stanford Law School. “But the big problem from my perspective is non-disclosure. Users clearly do not know what is happening. ”

The report on Facebook’s human transcription program sparked the ire of US lawmakers, some of whom were already asking for stronger privacy protections than those imposed by a $ 5 billion deal with the Federal Trade Commission approved last month. Senator Mark Warner, a Virginia Democrat, said the latest revelation about the Facebook audio collection “is further proof that consumers’ expectations of how their data is collected and used differ radically from what they are really doing. companies like Facebook. ”

Some privacy attorneys suggested that the lack of disclosure did not move the company’s agreement with the FTC. That agreement, which resolved known conduct before June 12, prohibits Facebook’s misrepresentations about user privacy controls, third-party access to user data and how information is collected, used and disclosed.

“In the absence of other disclosure to users about human listening, I think this is likely to be a violation of the order in the case,” said Mark McCreary, privacy director of the law firm Fox Rothschild LLP.