Facebook launches app that will pay users for their data

Galtero Lara
Junio 13, 2019

Facebook unveiled a new market research app on Tuesday aimed to help them gather data about participant's app usage and said it would compensate anyone who joins the study.

In January, Facebook removed its Research app from the iOS app store after being accused of paying teenagers for access to their mobile activity via a VPN app that gave Facebook almost unlimited access to user data and phone activity. "What a concept." Facebook also is now sensitive to the use of teen data and will require that those installing Study be 18 years of age or older.

Not anyone can participate in Study.

The selected adults will be notified that Facebook can see and record their web activities, the apps they are using on their smartphone, time spent in using other apps, network type and their country. Facebook is working to appear more transparent about its quests for user data with Study, though the service is not offered through Apple, which bans the collection of "information about which other apps are installed on a user's device for the purposes of analytics or advertising/marketing". The company said the the information it collects will go toward product development initiatives. The description mentions that "Transparency" is a major part of the project.

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In the post, Facebook announced its new focus on "reward-based market research programs", of which Study is the first - take note of the plural, implying there will be more in the future. Participants will also need to provide their PayPal account which will be used for the financial compensation.

The rollout of the app comes almost four months after Facebook faced backlash over paying users of a different app it had created that tracked their app use, private messages, and locations.

How much time you've spend on each app. The social media giant has been frowned upon (to put it lightly) for the way it handles user data. It looks like the social media company is restarting the program anew, with the Study app on Android. In addition to Facebook Research, Apple removed Facebook research app Onavo VPN from the app store in June 2018.

Information obtained from this app will not be sold to third parties or used to target advertisement, Facebook confirmed in the statement.

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