Facebook will offer to pay some users for voice recordings that will be used to help improve speech recognition technology, the company announced Thursday. The move comes after Facebook – as well as Amazon, Apple, Google and Microsoft – was caught listening to and transcribing voice recordings to improve speech recognition systems without informing customers that this was happening.
Facebook lets you make voice recordings as part of a new program called “Pronunciations” in its Viewpoints market research app. If you are eligible to be part of the program, Facebook says you can include the phrase “Hey Portal” followed by the first name of a friend from your friend list. You can do this with the names of up to 10 friends and you must record each statement twice.
However, Facebook does not pay much for your recordings. If you complete one set of recordings, you will receive 200 points in the Viewpoints app and you will not be able to cash in the Viewpoints app until you earn at least 1,000 points. That only translates into a $ 5 reward via PayPal. Facebook says, however, that users are offered the option to take up to five sets of recordings, so there is the potential to achieve that goal of 1,000 points and get paid.
Facebook says that the voice recordings that users provide will not be connected to their Facebook profile and that the company does not share Viewpoints activity on Facebook or other services owned by Facebook without permission.
The Pronunciations program will be available to US users over 18 who have more than 75 Facebook friends. Facebook says that the program is being rolled out slowly, so that it is not immediately available to all users. If it’s made available to you, you don’t have to update the Viewpoints app to make it appear, the company says.