FACEBOOK HAS THOUSANDS of contractors perusing posts on its social network and tagging them with labels to aid in artificial intelligence training.
That's according to a report by Reuters, which said that up to 260 contract workers located in India's Hyderabad have spent more than a year labelling posts that go back as far as 2014.
The idea is that by adding more data to the posts, it gives AI systems more information to chew over; presumably to offer better chatbot and assistant services as opposed to fuel smart AI killer drones for Zuckerberg to release upon his enemies.
The practice of labelling data for AI training is pretty common, and it gets used in to help train the image recognition systems in driverless cars for example.
But the issue here is that it would appear that the Facebook contractors got access to both the public and private posts of Facebook and Instagram users, which could be seen as a breach of privacy.
And the use of personal information to train smart systems to better serve up adverts and other money-making services could leave a bitter taste in the mouths of many.
But a Facebook spokesperson told Reuters that everything is above board: "We make it clear in our data policy that we use the information people provide to Facebook to improve their experience and that we might work with service providers to help in this process."
However, such a process pretty much flies against Zuckerberg's ambitions to make a privacy-focussed platform, though Facebook's showcased efforts to do that have, arguably, been as robust as an over-ripe banana.
The problem is AI needs data to get smart, much like you dear readers need the INQ. So such labelling efforts aren't likely to be going away anytime soon.
And it doesn't look like Facebook passes on this data to third-party advertisers, which would be suspect indeed.
That being said, given the Cambridge Analytica scandal pretty much involved third parties having access to Facebook user data, one could argue there's scope for this public and private post labelling to go awry. We'll just wait here with our beer for the next Facebook data f**k up. µ
And it'll even undo the damage
Affected employees have 60 days to find a new home at the company
Doesn't inspire confidence in HongMeng's appeal
But don't get too excited if you've already got one