MENLO PARK, Calif. — Facebook will pay you for your voice, but don’t expect to get wealthy.
The California-based company is paying selected people to record phrases to improve its voice recognition tools. It’s asking them record the phrase, “Hey Portal, call…” which is its camera-equipped home device, followed by saying the first name of a Facebook friend twice for 10 times. The task takes around five minutes to do.
But you won’t get Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg-level rich. Completing each task nets 200 points in the app and it can only be completed five times, for a total of 1,000 points. That amounts to $5 sent to the user through PayPal.
“Pronunciations” is the name of the survey and it’s accessible through Viewpoints, a separate Facebook app focused on market research. It pays people to complete surveys and tasks to improve its array of products, including WhatsApp, Oculus VR headsets and Portal.
Large tech companies have ignited controversy for how they collect and study people’s voices. Typically, companies allow themselves to do that through privacy policies and user agreements, although few people actually read all the way through those.
However, the voice studying has sparked blowback because researchers have found security issues have that could be exploited by hackers to eavesdrop on people without their knowledge.
Amazon employs a global team that transcribes the voice commands captured after the wake word is detected and feeds them back into the software to help improve Alexa’s grasp of human speech, the better to respond more efficiently in the future. The company said it annotates only an “extremely small number of interactions from a random set of customers” and tweaked its settings to allow people to opt out of the program.
Google, Apple and even Facebook have all recently halted human reviews of their users’ recordings.