Facebook offers to pay if you'll let it study your online habits

Marco Green
June 13, 2019

Facebook already has the advantage when setting up such market research, Cottrell said - not many other companies could release a similar service and get as many participants as Facebook is bound to.

Facebook announced Tuesday that it is recruiting participants to download its new app Study from the Google Play store.

If you've got the app downloaded, Facebook will monitor which apps you have installed on your phone, how long you spend on each one, what you're doing in the apps, and where you're based. Facebook said it will promote Study through advertisements on the social network and elsewhere, and users must be 18 years or older to participate.

The social media giant said it is collecting minimum information to improve their products. Last year, a slew of documents released by the United Kingdom parliament revealed that Facebook used its now-defunct VPN app, Onavo, to track competitors through data it collected from users.

The social media giant is introducing a new scheme - available only to subscribers in the USA and India - which will pay specific users for sharing their internet habits. Facebook will also not share any of the data it has collected with third party apps.

The move also comes at a time when there are global concerns around data privacy and how some of the world's top internet companies had been illegally harvesting user information without taking subscribers' consent.

The user's country, device and network type.

App activity names and the app features users are taking advantage of.

"Study from Facebook does not collect user IDs, passwords, or any of the participant's content, such as photos, videos, or messages". So, unless security experts give this app the green signal, I wouldn't recommend you install it - even if there's real money to be earned from it.

Why we should care.

"Providing users this up front sort of notice is definitely a good thing, and should be the norm for any company which markets, advertises or otherwise makes use of users' personal information for generating revenue", said Nathan Wenzler, the senior director of cybersecurity at wealth management firm Moss Adams. Advertisers have reaped the benefits of the company's ad targeting capabilities, but marketers want safe platforms - and channels - where their messaging can be heard without the risk of people's data being misused, or worse, stolen.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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