Facebook's ever-increasing appetite for user data is going to a whole new level.
The social network has announced a program that asks users to give their voice recordings willingly.
In return, the Mark Zuckerberg-owned company says it will pay a certain sum as a reward for the contribution.
Here's all you need to know about it.
First up, why Facebook needs voice recordings?
A few months ago, a number of big tech companies were caught listening to and transcribing voice recordings of people using their products with the help of third-party contractors.
The effort, revolving around improving/training speech recognition technologies, also included Facebook. But, the problem was, the people whose recordings were used were not properly informed about this practice.
The company drew a lot of flak!
Facebook shuttered voice grading program, came up with new one
When the news of the controversial audio grading program surfaced, Facebook announced that it had already shuttered the project.
The move looked like a bold step at first, but as it turns out, the company was not ending the program - only replacing it with the one that paid users willing to give access to their voice recordings.
'Pronunciations' program in Viewpoints market research app
As part of the new program to collect voice recordings, Facebook has added a new 'Pronunciations' feature in its Viewpoints market research app.
Using this, qualifying users will be able to share voice samples by saying 'Hey Portal' followed by the first name of a Facebook friend.
You can do this for up to 10 friends, with each phrase being repeated twice.
How much the company will pay?
For each set of recordings (10 friends), Facebook will give you 200 points.
But, here is the drill, you can't convert these points into cash unless you have at least 1,000 points in Viewpoints app, and that merely translates into $5.
So, even if you put in a lot of effort and make five different sets of recordings, you won't get much money.
A lot of data already collected via Viewpoints
To recall, Facebook already uses Viewpoints to collect information from the public - and pay them in return via points.
The app was introduced as a more 'upfront' solution after a similar app from the company was caught collecting personal information without proper permissions and under a different name.
It was later removed for bypassing and violating the policies of the Apple App Store.
Facebook says it doesn't associate collected data with user accounts
Facebook has clarified that the recordings collected from the Pronunciations program will not be associated with individual user accounts. Also, the activity from the app will not be shared on Facebook and its subsidiaries.
The program has started rolling out and will be available to the US-based Facebook users who are more than 18 years old and have 75 or more friends.