Facebook, Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) paying hundreds of outside contractors to transcribe clips of audio from users of its services

Facebook, Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) paying hundreds of outside contractors to transcribe clips of audio from users of its services

Facebook, Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) paying hundreds of outside contractors to transcribe clips of audio from users of its services

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. 

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. 

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. 

The social networking giant, which just completed a $5 billion settlement with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission after a probe of its privacy practices, has long denied that it collects audio from users to inform ads or help determine what people see in their news feeds. Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg denied the idea directly in Congressional testimony. 

“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,” Zuckerberg told U.S. Senator Gary Peters in April 2018. “We don’t do that.” 

The Facebook data-use policy, revised last year to make it more understandable for the public, includes no mention of audio. It does, however, say Facebook will collect “content, communications and other information you provide” when users “message or communicate with others.” 

Facebook says its “systems automatically process content and communications you and others provide to analyze context and what’s in them.” It includes no mention of other human beings screening the content. In a list of “types of third parties we share information with,” Facebook doesn’t mention a transcription team, but vaguely refers to “vendors and service providers who support our business” by “analyzing how our products are used.” 

The role of humans in analyzing recordings underscores the limits of artificial intelligence in its ability to recognize words and speech patterns. Machines are getting better at the task but sometimes still struggle with the unfamiliar. That some of the contractors have found the recorded content disturbing is further reminder of the human toll of moderating content on Facebook, the world’s biggest social network. 

Facebook first started allowing Messenger users to have their audio transcribed in 2015. “We’re always working on ways to make Messenger more useful,” David Marcus, the executive in charge of the service at the time, said in a Facebook post. 

Technical Indicators

Overall, the bias in prices is: Sideways.

The projected upper bound is: 197.58.

The projected lower bound is: 180.30.

The projected closing price is: 188.94.

Candlesticks

A white body occurred (because prices closed higher than they opened).
During the past 10 bars, there have been 4 white candles and 6 black candles for a net of 2 black candles. During the past 50 bars, there have been 27 white candles and 23 black candles for a net of 4 white candles.

Momentum Indicators

Momentum is a general term used to describe the speed at which prices move over a given time period. Generally, changes in momentum tend to lead to changes in prices. This expert shows the current values of four popular momentum indicators.

Stochastic Oscillator

One method of interpreting the Stochastic Oscillator is looking for overbought areas (above 80) and oversold areas (below 20). The Stochastic Oscillator is 63.0228. This is not an overbought or oversold reading. The last signal was a buy 4 period(s) ago.

Relative Strength Index (RSI)

The RSI shows overbought (above 70) and oversold (below 30) areas. The current value of the RSI is 44.84. This is not a topping or bottoming area. A buy or sell signal is generated when the RSI moves out of an overbought/oversold area. The last signal was a sell 21 period(s) ago.

Commodity Channel Index (CCI)

The CCI shows overbought (above 100) and oversold (below -100) areas. The current value of the CCI is -35. This is not a topping or bottoming area. The last signal was a buy 3 period(s) ago.

MACD

The Moving Average Convergence/Divergence indicator (MACD) gives signals when it crosses its 9 period signal line. The last signal was a sell 17 period(s) ago.

Rex Takasugi – TD Profile

FACEBOOK INC A closed up 3.080 at 188.450. Volume was 18% below average (neutral) and Bollinger Bands were 15% wider than normal.

Open     High      Low     Close     Volume___
185.520 191.380 185.370 188.450 13,653,319
Technical Outlook 
Short Term: Neutral
Intermediate Term: Bearish
Long Term: Bullish
Moving Averages: 10-period     50-period     200-period
Close: 187.92 190.75 168.02
Volatility: 36 29 41
Volume: 15,510,039 17,238,762 20,386,468

Short-term traders should pay closer attention to buy/sell arrows while intermediate/long-term traders should place greater emphasis on the Bullish or Bearish trend reflected in the lower ribbon.

Summary

FACEBOOK INC A is currently 12.2% above its 200-period moving average and is in an downward trend. Volatility is extremely high when compared to the average volatility over the last 10 periods. There is a good possibility that volatility will decrease and prices will stabilize in the near term. Our volume indicators reflect volume flowing into and out of FB.O at a relatively equal pace (neutral). Our trend forecasting oscillators are currently bearish on FB.O and have had this outlook for the last 9 periods.

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