Facebook offers its users to pay for personal information, including recordings of their own voice. This is a rare example of Internet companies directly compensating people for collecting their data.
The recordings, created through the new market research app Viewpoints, will help train the speech recognition system that powers Facebook's portal devices that compete with Amazon's Echo speakers and Alexa’s virtual assistant.
Smart speaker manufacturers like Facebook, Amazon, Apple, and Google have been criticized last year when it emerged that they routinely send voice recordings from users to human moderators without communicating the practice to customers or getting their approval.
Facebook's move also opens the door to an idea that politicians and regulators have long discussed: The data that Facebook and other online platforms collect is so valuable to businesses and their advertisers that consumers should be paid for it ,
The social network's Viewpoints app, first launched three months ago to test new features and interview users, this week invited users in the US, "Hey Portal" and the names of up to 10 friends say. If you go through the admission process five times, you will earn points that can be converted into a $ 5 cash reward.
Data and how it should be assessed has become a new focus for competition regulators in recent years. This week, the European Commission said dominant technology companies should share their data with smaller competitors under "fair, transparent, reasonable, proportionate and / or non-discriminatory terms".
Critics of internet company data hoarding have long argued that although the Facebook social network, Google search engine, and similar tools are provided free of charge, consumers are not adequately remunerated for submitting large amounts of their most intimate details.
"Competition problems can result in inadequate compensation for consumers for their attention and the use of their data," the UK competition and market surveillance authority said in a December digital advertising report. "Although many online services are currently offered free of charge, consumers in a well-functioning market may be paid for their online engagement or have a choice of the amount of data they provide."
Facebook announced this week that its latest Viewpoints feature will help improve speech understanding by training machine learning algorithms based on a variety of examples to improve their accuracy and performance.
"Participants record phrases in the app, which helps us improve the recognition of the pronunciation of names in our products to better serve the people who use them," said a Facebook spokesman.
All of the data collected through Viewpoints "helps us develop better apps and services and help the community," said Facebook on the service's website. "We do not share your Facebook Viewpoints activity on Facebook or other accounts that you have linked without your permission. We also do not sell your information from this app to third parties."
However, the Viewpoints data policy points out that some information collected with the app, such as B. payment and device data, for personalizing other Facebook apps and for targeted advertising. Data during a Viewpoints research program can also be shared with “research partners,” including scientists, publishers, and advertisers. However, Facebook said attendees would be informed if it did.
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