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- Facebook could face new investigations from European regulators after data from 48 European citizens was sent to Facebook’s contracted audio transcribers.
- An August 13 report from Bloomberg revealed that Facebook was sending audio data from voice chats to be transcribed in order to help the company improve its speech recognition technology.
- Facebook originally told European regulators that no EU users were included in the transcription program, but a follow-up determined that nearly 50 users had been impacted, according to a report from Politico.
- Facebook’s use of the data could violate the EU’s privacy regulations, which are stricter than those in the United States.
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A recent report revealing that Facebook was transcribing voice chats could bring even more regulatory scrutiny for the social media platform. Facebook collected data from 48 European users in 14 countries during a test that was only intended for Americans, according to a report from Politico.
Regulators in each of those jurisdictions could launch their own privacy investigations as a result. Facebook is already facing 10 investigations for potential privacy violations in countries in the European Union. Facebook could face a fine of up to $2.2 billion a a result, which would follow a $5 billion fine levied by the United States’ Federal Trade Commission for privacy violations in July.
The European Union has stricter rules for disclosing data usage to social media users than the United States. Facebook’s transcription program was intended to collect audio data from American users to improve its speech recognition software, but dozens of voice recordings sent by European users to people in the US were captured as well.
While the users whose messages were transcribed by Facebook contractors had opted into the trial program, it may have not been clear to users in the EU that their data was being collected. Facebook told Bloomberg that the transcription program had recently been put on pause.
Facebook did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment.
Facebook continues to face international scrutiny for the way it handles user data and how third-party companies and contractors gain access to user information.
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