Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge
Facebook will offer to pay some users for voice recordings that will be used to help improve its 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 it was doing so.
Facebook will let you make voice recordings as part of a new program called “Pronunciations” in its Viewpoints market research app. If you qualify to be part of the program, Facebook says you’ll be able to record the phrase “Hey Portal” followed by the first name of a friend from your friends list. You’ll be able to do this with the names of up to 10 friends, and you have to record each statement twice.
You can earn up to $5 for making voice recordings
Facebook won’t be paying much for your recordings, though. If you complete one set of recordings, you get 200 points in the Viewpoints app — and you can’t cash out in the Viewpoints app until you earn at least 1,000 points. That only translates to a $5 reward via PayPal. However, Facebook says users may be offered the opportunity to make up to five sets of recordings, so there is the potential to meet that 1,000-point goal and get paid.
Facebook says the voice recordings users provide will not be connected to their Facebook profile and that the company doesn’t share Viewpoints activity on Facebook or other Facebook-owned services without permission.
The Pronunciations program will be available to US users over the age of 18 that have more than 75 Facebook friends. Facebook says it will be rolling the program out slowly, so it won’t be available to all users right away. If it’s made available to you, you won’t need to update the Viewpoints app to see it pop up, the company says.