Facebook Launches an App That Pays Users for Data on App Usage

Joshua Bennett
June 14, 2019

While some of the details of Facebook's program are up in the air, including the all-important price of your phone usage data, you should probably err on the side of "not participating" if you see an ad for the study pop up during your regular use of the Facebook app.

"They are being a little less intrusive with this one", he said, noting that Facebook says it won't collect some of the more sensitive information from people's phones such as photos and web searches. The last time Facebook tried to reward users for market research - in a more under the radar fashion - it offered a $20 gift card for every month the user stayed on.

Facebook has rolled out a new Study from Facebook marketing research program that involves users downloading an app to collect data from their phone. "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", Facebook product manager Sagee Ben-Zedeff explained in a company blog post.

Let's talk about the most important thing: Data collection. When someone clicks on an ad, they'll have the option to register and, if they qualify, they'll be invited to download the app.

The Android app is only meant for adults residing in the USA and India.

A previous market-research app from the company, called Research, got in hot water earlier this year when a report found that teens were using it and it was sidestepping Apple's guidelines. In return for agreeing to those terms, Facebook says it'll give you money.

In its defence, Facebook said Research focused only on analytics. It has also disclosed that it has partnered up with Applause to manage the logistic of the new program.They would be managing the registeration process, all compensation to participants and customer support.

Facebook promised users of its new Study app that it would be transparent about the information it collects and that the app would be secure.

Users will also be periodically reminded that they are part of the Study program. A Facebook account isn't required.

As for why Facebook wants this data, the company says it'll use the info to improve its products. However, the company will expand the availability of the app to other countries over time.

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