Facebook will pay you to gather information from you

Study from Facebook

That Facebook gathers personal information from its users should come as no surprise -- it could be argued that it is the social network's raison d' être. Following numerous privacy scandals, and the controversial (and since-closed) Research and Onavo programs, Facebook is now ready to be open about its data collection, and is even willing to pay people for this.

The new "Study from Facebook" app gives Facebook users the chance to volunteer to share information about their app usage -- and get paid for divulging this information. Sound good to you?

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Facebook says that the program is designed to help it to "learn which apps people value and how they're used" so that the company can "build better products for the Facebook community". Facebook promises -- for what that's worth -- that "we don't collect user IDs, passwords or content people share, including messages" and "we don't sell data from this app to third parties or use it to target ads to you".

To start with, the program is only available to Facebook users aged over 18 in the US and India, and only on Android for now. Facebook explains how it will work:

We'll run ads to encourage people to participate in this market research program. 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. Once invited, they'll find the Study from Facebook app in the Google Play Store. 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. We also notify users on the Study from Facebook website and in the Play Store description about what information we collect and how it will be used. This is all accessible before participants provide any market research information to the app. Anyone who uses the app will be compensated for contributing to the research. Only people who are 18 and older will be eligible to participate at launch, and all participants will be able to opt out at any time.

Study from Facebook

Facebook says that "we're collecting the minimum amount of information needed to help us build better products" and that the data to be collected "includes":

  • The apps installed on participants' phones
  • Time participants spend using apps
  • Participants' country, device and network type
  • App activity names, which may show us the names of app features a participant is using

The program is managed by a third party -- Facebook's long-time partner Applause.

You can find out more about the program over on the Study from Facebook page, although you won't find any information about the sort of level of compensation you might expect to receive.

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