Facebook will let users disable storage of Portal voice snippets

As consumer tech companies come under fire for how they handle voice data from consumers, Facebook is announcing changes to how users can manage recordings and transcriptions that are stored on Facebook’s services.

At a press event announcing Facebook’s new line of Portal hardware, exec Andrew Bosworth told reporters that the company would be adding the ability for users to halt sending voice recordings to Facebook’s servers. He reiterated that data from calls isn’t recorded or stored, but when users say “Hey Portal” and request something, sometimes that data may be analyzed by Facebook employees or contractors to hone the accuracy of the company’s tech.

“Even with the first generation of Portal you were able to review and delete those voice interactions at any time,” Bosworth told reporters. “We’re now adding the ability to disable storage of voice interactions altogether.”

In the past, Portal users were able to sort through and delete those voice interactions if they didn’t want them living on Facebook servers, but now users will have the option to disable the storage completely. It’s important to note that storage will still be enabled by default, and the onus is on users to disable this functionality if they care.

Facebook, Google and Apple have all come under fire for how they handle these snippets of voice recordings.

Last month, following press reports about how Siri recordings were being listened to by contractors, Apple announced that they had turned off Siri audio clip review by default and would ask users if they wanted to enable the setting. The company also noted that only Apple employees would handle user data. Facebook is following neither of Apple’s big moves here as contractors will still have access to this data and voice snippet collections will still be enabled by default.