Your Disdain for Facebook Messenger Is Warranted. Social Network Comes Clean About Transcribing Your DMs

Illustration for article titled Your Disdain for Facebook Messenger Is Warranted. Social Network Comes Clean About Transcribing Your DMs
Image: iStock

Everybody hates Facebook Messenger.

Since its debut in 2011, it has been accused of being clunky, intrusive and untrustworthy, while its billions of users have kicked and screamed at being bullied into having to use it. But despite its glaring flaws, it also serves as a convenient method to engage with obnoxious relatives or to shoot your shot at your homegirl’s homegirl whose phone number you failed miserably at obtaining.


It’s just too damn bad that Facebook has finally admitted to being in your business.

In a world in which tech-savvy consumers have accused smartphone apps or products like Alexa of eavesdropping into our day-to-day lives, Bloomberg reports that after years of dismissing your suspicions as paranoia, Facebook has finally come clean.

From Bloomberg:

Facebook Inc. has been paying hundreds of outside contractors to transcribe clips of audio from users of its services, according to people with knowledge of the work.

The work has rattled the contract employees, who are not told where the audio was recorded or how it was obtained — only to transcribe it, said the people, who requested anonymity for fear of losing their jobs. They’re hearing Facebook users’ conversations, sometimes with vulgar content, but do not know why Facebook needs them transcribed, the people said.

So those kinky voice-to-text notes you’ve been sending your husband until he comes home from his tour of duty in Iraq? Yeeeeeeeeeah, somebody is transcribing that shit. And according to Facebook, we’ve given them free rein to do so.

More from Bloomberg:

Facebook confirmed that it had been transcribing users’ audio and said it will no longer do so, following scrutiny into other companies. “Much like Apple and Google, we paused human review of audio more than a week ago,” the company said Tuesday. The company said the users who were affected chose the option in Facebook’s Messenger app to have their voice chats transcribed. The contractors were checking whether Facebook’s artificial intelligence correctly interpreted the messages, which were anonymized.


This revelation coincides with the Irish Data Protection Commission’s investigation into possible violations of the European Union’s privacy guidelines and is eerily reminiscent of people like Kobe Bryant or Tekashi 6ix9ine ratting everybody out after getting caught up in some shit.

Remember last year when Congress pressed Lord Zuckerberg about Facebook listening in on people’s conversations without permission?


“You’re talking about this conspiracy theory that gets passed around that we listen to what’s going on on your microphone and use that for ads,” Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg replied at the time. “We don’t do that.”

It makes you wonder what else Facebook is lying about. But in the interim, you might want to stay the hell away from Facebook Messenger.

Menace to supremacy. Founder of Extraordinary Ideas and co-host and producer of The Extraordinary Negroes podcast. Impatiently waiting for y'all to stop putting sugar in grits.


KC Complains A Lot

If someone who doesn’t own and operate a business can explain to me why they still bother using Facebook, I’d appreciate it, because fuck me, I just don’t see the point.