In a nutshell: There’s been plenty of controversy over tech firms listening to and transcribing our voice recordings, but Facebook is taking a different approach to the process. Not only is it asking users for their voice samples, but it’s also paying for the audio.
It seems pretty much every big company, including Amazon, Apple, Google, and Microsoft, has been listening to and transcribing users’ voice recordings without their consent. It’s a way to improve speech recognition systems, but many customers were angry at not being informed.
Facebook and other firms are now more open about their audio reviews, making it optional in some cases or pausing the programs altogether. The social network will be paying people for their voice recordings through a program called “Pronunciations,” which will be part of its Viewpoints market research app. The company introduced the application, which pays people for their data, back in November. It was meant to replace its controversial Onavo VPN app that was removed from the Play Store after it was found to collect a lot of information about its users.
Qualifying users will have to record the phrase “Hey Portal,” followed by the first name of a friend from their friends list. They’ll be able to repeat this with the names of up to ten friends, and they have to record each statement twice to get 200 points in the Viewpoint app.
The Verge writes that you shouldn’t expect to make a living from selling your voice to Facebook. It takes 1,000 points before you can cash out, and that only pays $5 via PayPal. Facebook says users may be offered the opportunity to make up to five sets of recordings, allowing them to reach the payment threshold. In case you’re wondering, each recording works out at five cents.
Facebook says recordings will not be connected to users’ Facebook profiles. The program will only be available to those in the US aged 18 and older with over 75 Facebook friends.
Earlier this week, a former Amazon executive said he always turns off his Alexa speaker when discussing anything private or sensitive. “I don’t want certain conversations to be heard by humans,” admitted former Amazon Web Services manager Robert Fredrick. “Conversations that I know for a fact are not things that should be shared then I turn off those particular listening devices.”