Feb 22, 2020 - Technology

Facebook offers up to $5 for voice recordings to train speech recognition

Facebook logo. Photo: Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Facebook is offering users up to $5 via PayPal to record themselves saying "Hey Portal" and then list the first names of no more than 10 Facebook friends, The Verge reports and Axios has confirmed.

The big picture: Facebook is pitching users a small amount of money in exchange for personal data to train its speech recognition tech after reports that it and other Big Tech companiesGoogle, Apple, Microsoft, and Amazon — have listened to their users for that reason without consent.

How it works: People can opt-out of the Pronunciation program — offered through the site's recently launched market research app — at any time, Facebook spokesperson Catherine Anderson told Axios.

  • By using the recordings to train AI that powers speech recognition and transcription in Facebook products — like Portal, Siri and Messenger — Facebook can better understand how names and other words are pronounced, she said.

Details: To record yourself, you must be over 18, living in the U.S. and have more than 75 Facebook friends, per the Verge.

  • The company says that users' collected voice recordings will not be connected to Facebook profiles, and activity gathered in its market research app will not be shared on Facebook or its other services without permission, the Verge reports.

Go deeper: What Facebook knows about you

Editor's note: This story has been updated to include confirmation and comments from Facebook.

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