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Facebook has been recording users audio without permission

Facebook has come under fire yet once again, and it’s no surprise to some users who have always suspected the social kingpin for violating their privacy. Some users even have reviewed the platform as being biased, and discriminatory against the Hispanic, and African American communities. It has even been reported that several widely known community advocates of the African American communities have had their Facebook community pages, and business pages restricted from posting content for random time periods, and even have had  their pages deleted by Facebook siting that the content posted violates Facebook’s policies. Upon the users requests to dispute the allegations, and have the matter reviewed, it has been reported that Facebook disregards the request with no further explanations.

The social platform giant has been collecting audio from users’ voice chats and paying outside contractors to transcribe it, Bloomberg’s Sarah Frier reported on Tuesday. Users affected are those who opted into having their voice chats transcribed, Facebook told Bloomberg.

But the company doesn’t disclose in its data-use policies that it collects audio from users or that it sends such data to people to transcribe, Bloomberg reported. The report comes as Facebook’s privacy practices have been under intense scrutiny. Last month, the company agreed to pay a $5 billion fine to settle an investigation by the Federal Trade Commission into whether it had violated the terms of a previous agreement in how it handled users’ data.

Last week, Business Insider reported that Hyp3r, a marketing firm, had been in violation of the social-media platform’s policiesregarding the Facebook-owned Instagram.

Facebook collects and has contractors transcribe the audio data to check the accuracy of its automated speech-recognition systems, according to Bloomberg. The company said it had recently “paused” the practice, the report added. Some contractors involved in transcribing the data said they felt what they were doing was unethical because Facebook hadn’t informed users that they would have access to the users’ audio data, the report went on.

This made a lot of the contracted employees nervous, and uncomfortable since they were not told where the audio was being recorded how it was obtained, or even why Facebook needed these audio recordings. — The contractors reported that they were only told to transcribe it when they questioned the works due to fear of losing their jobs. Why Facebook is listening in on users conversations, and even some conversations with vulgar content, has not yet been established, but their actions are being investigated.

Big tech companies including Amazon.com Inc. and Apple Inc. have come under fire for collecting audio snippets from consumer computing devices and subjecting those clips to human review, a practice that critics say invades privacy. Bloomberg first reported in April that Amazon had a team of thousands of workers around the world listening to Alexa audio requests with the goal of improving the software, and that similar human review was used for Apple’s Siri and Alphabet Inc.’s Google Assistant. Apple and Google have since said they no longer engage in the practice and Amazon said it will let users opt out of human review.

Users are cautioned to be selective in what they choose to share, or say via social media.

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