KEY POINTS

  • Facebook will pay users to record their voice on its Viewpoints marketing app
  • The program will be rolled out to select users with 75 or more Facebook friends
  • Users will be paid via PayPal

Facebook has been repeatedly caught with its hand in the cookie jar when it comes to sharing user data. It was caught in August last year hiring third-party contractors for reviewing and transcribing user audio clips, without user permission.

 The company has now come up with a new strategy: It will pay users to use their voice recordings to improve its speech recognition capabilities.

The company will let users make voice recordings as part of its new program called “Pronunciations” in its Viewpoints market research app. If you qualify to be a part of the program, you will be able to record the phrase, “Hey Portal” followed by the name of a friend from your friend list. You can do so for 10 of your friends and record each statement twice. One set of such recordings will provide the user with 200 points. Five such sets totaling up to 1000 points can be cashed out for a $5 reward, which can be transferred via PayPal.

Facebook told the Verge Thursday that the voice recordings, will, in no way be connected to the user’s Facebook profile and the company will not be sharing the recordings on Facebook or any other app, without user permission.

The program will be available to U.S. users aged above 18 with 75 or more Facebook friends. It will be rolled out in stages and if a user is eligible, he/she will be able to see the option in the Viewpoints app.

While the payout is not huge, this seems to be a better alternative to Facebook accessing user content with explicit permission. It will allow the company to improve its artificial intelligence-based transcription skills.

Transcription programs are turning out to be a sore thumb for most tech companies. This has made Apple and Google shut their transcription programs. Amazon has allowed users to opt-out of its Echo speaker-based voice recording.