Facebook Study to pay users for data, relaunched after mishap
Facebook Study is only available on the Google Play Store, so only Android users can register for it. The app will be available only in the US and India.
It is hard to trust a company that has been involved in collecting user data without public knowledge for decades. Only this time, it is telling you that it wants data again, in exchange for some cash...and you are not the one paying.
Facebook’s latest venture is called ‘Study’ and is completely legal on paper. Facebook will study your behaviour and pay you for it, if you grant permission.
Study is part of Facebook’s market research initiative as the company shifted its focus towards a reward-based market research program earlier this year. The company says, “We also know that this kind of research must be clear about what people are signing up for, how their information will be collected and used, and how to opt out of the research at any time.”
How does this work?
Facebook will be running ads to encourage people to participate in Study. A participant must be 18 years or older. You will be invited to join the app if you are qualified.
During the signup process, Facebook is upfront about its intentions. In a blog post, Facebook’s Product Manager, Sagee Ben-Zedeff said, “As they sign up, people will see a description of how the app works and what information they’ll be sharing with us so they can confirm they want to participate.” Users will be notified of the information collected and how it is put to use.
Facebook will collect details such as the apps installed on a participant’s phone, the amount of time spent using those apps, a participant’s country of residence, the device and network type used, and the App activity names, which may show the names of app features participants are using.
Facebook will not collect details like user IDs, passwords, or any of the participant’s content, such as photos, videos, or messages. Facebook claims that it will also not share any of the data collected with third party apps. For now, Study will be available only in the US and India.
Without disclosing an exact amount, Facebook said that users will be paid for the information provided. It also allows participants to opt out at any time. Facebook Study is only available on the Google Play Store, so only Android users can register for it. Why not on the Apple’s App store?
Earlier this year, a TechCrunch investigation found both Facebook and Google guilty for abusing their Apple-issued enterprise developer certificates. The investigation revealed that the companies were providing applications for users outside the App Store which is in violation of Apple’s rules. Users were paid in exchange for the data collected by these apps.
According to the report, in a letter dated March 1 to Sen. Richard Blumenthal, Facebook said it had collected data on 31,000 users in the United States, of whom 4,300 were teenagers. The rest of the data came from users in India. However, the investigation said Facebook obtained personal and sensitive device data on 1,87,000 users.
Facebook is not one to stop with a bad reputation given the multiple scandals up its sleeve. In retrospect, Study is a glorified correction of the mistake Facebook made the previous time. Despite being taken down and blocked from operation, a new version of the research app has been introduced in the market. Clearly, this is something the tech-giant cannot afford to lose.