If you’ve used Facebook’s popular Messenger app, there’s a chance that someone working for Facebook has listened to recordings of your audio chats.
A report by Bloomberg found that Facebook has been paying hundreds of outside contractors to transcribe clips of audio from its users, citing “people with knowledge of the work” who were told to transcribe the audio without being informed how and where it was obtained.
Facebook confirmed to NBC News that it had engaged in the practice but said that it “paused human review of audio more than a week ago.”
Facebook told NBC News it was reviewing the audio to make sure its artificial intelligence was working properly.
Even though Facebook has said it has paused its human reviews of audio chats on Messenger, here are steps you can take to protect the privacy of your audio.
Select “no” when the prompt comes up asking you if you want to turn on voice to text for a chat, and go through any chats where the feature is enabled and turn it off.
Prevent the Facebook app from accessing the microphone on your phone. For iPhones, go to Settings, then tap on the Facebook app and turn off microphone access. On Android phones, go to Settings, then “Apps and notifications,” then pull up the Facebook app, tap on Permissions, then microphone, and then hit “Deny.”
Use the “secret conversation” option in Facebook, which is encrypted on both ends and contains no way for a voice message to be transcribed.