Here’s why Wipro’s employees are manually scanning your Facebook posts

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook's CEO, announced that a "privacy focused" social network is the next step in the company's product development at the F8 Conference last weekFacebook

  • Contract workers at Wipro are have been manually filtering through Facebook user data for the last 5 years.
  • An investigation by Reuters revealed that Wipro is only one of 200 firms that has been manually ‘labeling’ content on Facebook.
  • Facebook’s Nipun Mathur states, “It’s a core part of what you (Facebook) need.”
Facebook is tagging and bagging millions of posts and status updates — and it’s using humans to do it.

An investigation by Reuters revealed that Wipro, with its 260 contract workers, is only one of 200 firms which are ‘personally’ going through Facebook’s user data and online activity.

And, they’ve been at it since 2014.

The workers report that the end goal is to determine how user's online appetites are changing on the social media site, which, according to Statista, has 260 million monthly active users (MAU’s) in India.

These contract workers read the posts and tag them according to five categories including the subject of the post, the occasion, and the author’s intention.

Through the human lens

Users might not be comfortable with actual human eyes profiling every aspect of what is shared on Facebook, but according to Facebook it’s necessary ‘training’.

A lot of these projects are aimed at building a software and algorithm which will determine the content of a user’s news feed on Facebook, as well as other features of the social platform that run using artificial intelligence (AI).

Nipun Mathur, the director of product management for AI at Facebook told Reuters, “It’s a core part of what you need. I don’t see the need going away.”

At the end of the day, understanding how people are using Facebook helps the company develop new features and increase ad revenue while increasing the time that a user spends online.

To put it simply, user data is being monetized at a tertiary level where it’s not just about what is being shared on Facebook, but how and why as well. Big data which is being used to train AI or bring in new features, is allegedly being collected to cushion the bottomline.

Facebook’s privacy breaches

Privacy issues aren’t new to Facebook.

The Cambridge Analytica scandal did no wonders to the company’s reputation. Few were thrilled that Facebook was sharing user profiles with third parties, which was in turn used for political profiling and targeted campaigning. Experts assert that this allowed America’s arch rival, Russia, to influence the US presidential elections.

And, things have only gotten worse since then.

In Europe, Facebook has been under pressure to correct ‘misleading’ fine print on how data from users is being monetised for the platform.

Despite its many issues, Mark Zuckerberg — Facebook’s CEO — announced that the next step on his product roadmap is to launch a “ privacy focused social platform” at the F8 conference last week.

I know that we don’t exactly have the strongest reputation on privacy right now, to put it lightly. But I’m committed to doing this well.

Mark Zuckerberg at Facebook’s annual developer conference in April

See also:
Facebook's AI is deleting one million accounts every day as the Indian election heats up

Facebook is reportedly bringing in local IT firms to moderate fake news in India

Indians can't get enough of Facebook despite all controversies
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