NEW YORK — Facebook says it paid contractors to transcribe audio clips from users of its Messenger service.

Some say the practice is an invasion of privacy as users aren't typically aware that humans are reviewing audio. Tech companies say the practice helps improve their services. Facebook says audio snippets were masked so as not to reveal anyone's identity.

The company says it has stopped the practice a week ago. The development was reported earlier by Bloomberg.

Amazon and Google have also used people to listen to audio from their digital assistant services rather than only using artificial intelligence. Google says it stopped doing this. Amazon did not respond to a query. Published reports say Apple also has done this, but has stopped.

Irish data-protection regulators say it's seeking more details from Facebook.

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