Facebook Viewpoints will pay you money to complete surveys, but you shouldn't do it

I suppose there is nothing inherently wrong with handing over your data to big corporations -- as long as you do so willingly. Look, there are several "free" services online these days, such as Facebook, Gmail, and YouTube that many people use daily. These services aren't really free, however, as your data is largely the price of admission.

For those without actual disposable income, this data is a valuable commodity that they can use to trade for services -- it opens doors to some. With that said, it can be argued that this is essentially taking advantage of low income people. Similarly, this is one of the reasons it is illegal to sell your organs in the USA -- you'd have poor people transferring kidneys to the wealthy just to pay the rent.


Today, Facebook launches a new program that is seemingly designed to take advantage of poorer people -- it will pay them paltry amounts of money in exchange for their valuable data. Called "Facebook Viewpoints," users install an app for Android or iOS, sign up for the service, and answer personal questions. In exchange, the social network will deposit cash into their PayPal accounts. It is similar to Google's Opinion Rewards program. Some will see this as capitalism at work, while others will instead view it as tantamount to people selling their organs to Facebook. But which is it?

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"Once you set up a Facebook Viewpoints account, you’ll be invited to join programs. Before each program, we'll explain what information will be collected, how it will be used and how many points you’ll receive for completing the program. We'll let you know how many points you need in order to receive a payment, and every time you reach that amount of points, you'll receive a payment sent directly to your PayPal account," says "Erez Naveh, Product Manager, Facebook.

Naveh further says, "When you join Facebook Viewpoints, we'll ask for information like your name, email address, country of residence, date of birth and gender. We may ask you to share additional information, like your location, to qualify you for individual programs. Before you begin any program, we'll let you know how the information you provide through that program will be used."

So far, this program sounds predatory and disgusting, but there are some potential positives from a privacy perspective. Facebook promises you can leave the program whenever you'd like and it won't share any of your responses publicly. Even better, it vows not to provide this data to third parties.

While that all sounds great, does anyone actually trust Facebook? I mean, the company has had so many privacy mistakes over the years, that even if they sincerely intend to protect this survey data, I am not confident that they are competent to do so. All in all, I would advise all people to avoid this Viewpoints data collection scheme -- you are better than this. Seriously, folks, please value yourselves more.

Of course, it is is your life and you can do with it what you want. If you want earn some cash by selling your information, you can download the app here. Keep in mind, you must be in the USA and at least 18 years old to participate.

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