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Facebook will use human contractors to listen to your Portal voice commands

Surprise, surprise…

facebook portal device on table
Image: Facebook

Another day, another shady decision made by Facebook. You may remember that back in August Facebook announced that they were pulling the plugs on human reviews of Messenger voice chats. This change had come about as a result of privacy concerns.

Around the same time, Facebook had also quietly paused human reviews of voice commands on new and existing Portal devices. However, it seems that Facebook is now going back on its decision.

Facebook will use human contractors for voice command checks on Portal

Facebook told Bloomberg that contractors would be going back to reviewing Portal device voice commands. Portal will start recording your words after using the wake word “Hey Portal.” The reasoning Facebook gives for using human contractors again is due to “more transparency and control,” as stated by their hardware lead, Andrew Bosworth. Ehhhh, I don’t know about that.

The silver lining here is that users will also have the option to opt-out of sharing their audio with Facebook, but how upfront will the company be about that? Is it an option when they first set up their device or is it buried in the settings? The option will be available as part of a software update for Portal devices in October.

As for Messenger transcriptions, they are still separate and paused as of now.  Read up more on the story here.

What do you think? Does this news concern you? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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Murtaza is a Computer Science student who takes immense interest in mobile technology. He believes the future of computing lies in smartphones because ARM architecture will eventually take over. He also loves to tinker with ROMs and kernels keeping up with the latest in smartphones.

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