Facebook Reportedly Will Offer Compensation To Users For Digital Voice Data

As smart speakers come under fire for sharing data without consent, Facebook said it will offer payment to users for their voice recordings. The goal is to train Facebook’s speech recognition system that powers its Portal devices. 

Facebook increasingly has been compensating users for information and data. In November 2019 it launched Facebook Viewpoints to get feedback from users. 

On Facebook’s Viewpoints web page the company asks visitors to share “and get rewarded for helping improve the technology that powers apps and services you use every day.”

Last year, Amazon, Apple and Google faced criticism for sending users’ voice recordings to human moderators. Facebook's move suggests what many in the advertising industry have believed for years -- that data will develop a monetary value, similar to currency. 

Facebook’s Viewpoints app, released three months ago, will use the data to test new features and survey users, according to one media report.

This week, Facebook began to invite users in the United States to participate by saying “Hey Portal” and the names of up to 10 friends, reports the Financial Times.

Five recordings would earn points that participants can convert into a $5 cash reward. 

Using data to train machine-learning algorithms is nothing new. Google has been doing it for years. The idea is that the data will “improve speech understanding,” by training machine-learning algorithms that rely on a large amount of examples from data to improve their accuracy and performance. 

Large data sets, for example, are important to autonomous driving projects such as Google Waymo because the data supports the foundation of learning. The machine uses the data to teach what the machines don’t know.

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