Report reveals how Facebook has been secretly spying on users' chats - again

14 August 2019 - 12:26 By Cebelihle Bhengu
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
Image: REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein/File Photo

Facebook users need to be extra cautious with their settings when using the app after a report by Bloomberg revealed that the social media site paid hundreds of private contractors to transcribe audio conversations between the app's users. 

According to the report, the contractors, who requested anonymity in order to protect their jobs, were given the recordings and required to transcribe them, all without being told how they were obtained and whether the users had consented to them being scrutinised.

Asked about this on Tuesday, Facebook did not deny the claims, but said the transcriptions had been put on hold. "Much like Apple and Google, we paused the human review of audio more than a week ago."

When asked how they chose whose recordings would be transcribed, the company said users who agreed in their settings to have their recordings transcribed were the ones affected.

This option has been available since 2015. As per the report, the aim of this was to test if Facebook's artificial intelligence interpreted the messages correctly.