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Facebook contractors are listening to Portal voice commands again

You now have an option to turn it off, at least.
Jon Fingas, @jonfingas
September 18, 2019
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Nicole Lee/Engadget

Facebook may have halted human review of Messenger voice chats in August, but that didn't mean it was putting the brakes on everything. The company has revealed to Bloomberg that its contractors will go back to reviewing Portal device voice commands (what you say after "hey Portal") after quietly pausing them around the same time as Messenger reviews came to a halt. It's bringing the practice back now that there's "more transparency and control," hardware lead Andrew Bosworth said. You now have an option to stop sharing the audio with Facebook.

The option will appear as part of a software update for Portal devices in October. Messenger transcriptions are separate and still paused, Bosworth said.

Facebook's addition of a choice will be welcome to those users who frequently feel like they don't have control over whether or not their commands are heard by other people. Having said this, some may be less than thrilled by Facebook making this an opt-out feature rather than opt-in. You may end up sharing more than you're comfortable with if you gloss over Facebook's warnings.

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