Facebook reinstates program to record audio on its Portal smart home devices

A Portal device. (Facebook)

Facebook has confirmed to Bloomberg that it records and collects audio from its Portal home devices.

Like other tech giants, Facebook employs contractors to listen to smart device and AI assistant audio clips in order to improve service quality. Audio clips are often recorded in customers' homes.

It paused the practice last month but says it has now reinstated it, along with an option to disable Portal's recording function. Users who don't disable it will have their audio interactions with Portal collected by Facebook.

According to the company, Portal devices only record clips when customers say the "Hey Portal" prompt, which triggers the Portal AI assistant. Other companies with similar policies have been plagued with accidental recordings, however.

Furthermore, the privacy policy does not say, as other companies' do, that it only collects a small sample of recordings. It is not clear how many recorded audio clips are manually reviewed by contractors.