'Pronunciations', part of Facebook's market research app, aims to improve Facebook's speech recognition
Giant tech companies such as Facebook, Google, Apple and Amazon have received criticism for transcribing user’s voice recording to human moderators without the consent of the customers.
Facebook has recently announced it is offering to pay its users for their voice recordings.
The recordings will be made through a programme called ‘Pronunciations’, which is part of its market research app, Viewpoints. This will improve its speech recognition system, which competes against Amazon’s Echo speakers and its Alexa virtual assistant.
The company selects users to record the phrase “Hey Portal” and say the name of Facebook friends ten times. That person would have to go through this process five times to collect points that can convert into $5.
Facebook declared that the user’s voice recordings will not be linked to their profile and nor would they share their Viewpoint activity on Facebook or to third-parties.
However, Viewpoints data policy shows that some information may be collected using the application which includes payment and device data. Data can be distributed for research programmes to academics or advertisers. Although Facebook clearly mentioned that the users will be informed.
Critics have often argued that tech companies were not compensating its users for collecting their data.
Moreover, the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority stated that despite online services being free, users might be paid for their online contribution or given a choice on the amount of data they provide.
Consequently, data valuation has become a predominant focus for competition regulators. The European Commission claimed that big tech companies would have to share their data with smaller competitors.