Last week, Facebook announced that it would pay some of its users for their voice recordings as a part of a new program to improve the company’s speech recognition algorithms.
The Facebook Spokesperson said: “Participants record phrases within the app, which helps us improve name pronunciation recognition in our products to better serve the people that use them.”
The new program is called Pronunciations. Basically, it’s a survey that can be accessed through the Viewpoints app – a mobile market research app that is aimed at collecting data from its users by letting them take surveys to improve the overall experience and the quality of the company’s products.
The recordings made within the app will particularly help train those speech recognition algorithms powering Portal devices.
Here’s how the whole thing works. The program will not be available to everyone straight away. Those qualified to take part in the Pronunciations program will be able to say “Hey Portal, call…” and then name someone’s first name from the user’s friend list. The same can be done with the names of 10 friends, and the same statements will need to be recorded twice. You won’t receive the money straight away, though. For one set of recordings, you will get 200 points, and as soon as you’ve gained 1,000 points, you can cash them out via PayPay, which equals $5. It makes up $1 per recording. Users have an opportunity to make no more than five sets to get to the 1,000 points.
The tech giant decided to introduce the new program after other large companies like Amazon, Google, Microsoft, and Apple were caught listening to users’ voice recordings without their permission to improve voice recognition systems. Of course, later on, those companies shot all those projects down.
Pronunciations will be available to US users who are 18 or more and who have over 75 friends on Facebook.
Facebook said that the provided voice recordings would not be connected to users’ Facebook accounts, and none of the Viewpoints activity will be shared on Facebook or other platforms that it owns.