TikTok changes Text-To-Speech voice after original voice actor files lawsuit

25 May 2021, 12:56

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Katie Louise Smith

By Katie Louise Smith

"Honestly TikTok... what is this?"

One of TikTok's best features, aside from all those chaotic filters, is undoubtably the Text-To-Speech function.

Text-To-Speech is primarily a feature that improves accessibility on people's videos, but it's also become a meme feature itself. Users often use the robotic voice to narrate wild stories and videos on the social media app but now, dear TikTokers, we bring you bad news... TikTok's iconic Text-To-Speech voice has changed and people are not loving it.

Yep, gone is the iconic lady who used to pronounce "NO" as "Nitrogen Monoxide", and in her place is a new voice that just simply does not have The Range.

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Why did TikTok changes the Text-To-Speech voice?
Why did TikTok changes the Text-To-Speech voice? Picture: Thiago Prudêncio/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images, @willywonkatiktok

Why did TikTok change the Text-To-Speech voice?

The Text-To-Speech voices vary by country and region (in the UK, for example, it's a male voice). The voice has now changed in North America, but TikTok has not yet made any comment about the new voice or why it has been updated.

However, earlier in May, professional voice actor Beverly Standing sued ByteDance, TikTok's parent company, because her voice was used in the app's text-to-speech feature without her permission.

According to Insider's report, the lawsuit claims that Standing was hired by an "Institute of Acoustics" to "perform voice work purportedly for Chinese translations". Standing said she recognised her voice after people began sending her TikTok videos.

The lawsuit claims damages for “the emotional distress of having her likeness exploited without consent; loss of the ability to control the dissemination of her likeness; and loss of the ability to control the association of her likeness.”

TikTok users in their droves have been absolutely roasting the new voice since the feature was updated.

The general consensus is that the new voice lacks the hilarious emotionless vibe and iconic mispronunciations of the original Text-To-Speech voice. Other criticisms of the new Text-To-Speech voice is that it's way too enthusiastic and sounds too much like a "knock-off Barbie" or a "millennial girl boss".

Others are loving it though, and have already taken the opportunity to turn it into a meme.

Get ready for a whole load of passive aggressive Barbie voiceovers and Old Navy commercials on the FYP!

It's currently unclear if the original Text-To-Speech voice will still be available to use on TikTok.

But as much as we'll all miss the original, here's hoping Beverly Standing is compensated for the use of her voice.