FACEBOOK has offered to pay users to let it track information on how they use their smartphones.
It would involve installing a tracker app on your smartphone to give Facebook “market research” – and could net you £15 a month.
The app will be called Facebook Study, and will track details like the apps you’re using, the time you spend in them, and what features you use.
“Market research helps companies build better products for people,” said Facebook’s Sagee Ben-Zedeff.
“We believe this work is important to help us improve our products for the people who use Facebook.”
So how does it work? To start with, Facebook will be running ads to encourage people to sign up for the study.
When you click on an ad, you’ll get the option to register. Then you’ll be invited to download the app.
You’ll find the Study from Facebook app inside the Google Play Store, and you’ll be “compensated for contributing to the research”.
This will only be available for people who are aged 18 or over, and participants can opt out at any time.
And only Android users will be able to use the app – iPhone won’t support it.
Facebook hasn’t confirmed exactly how much it will pay users.
However, the tech firm ran a similar program called Facebook Research that paid participants £15 ($20) a month.
Facebook Research was shut down in January 2019 after it emerged children as young as 13 were being tracked.
There was also a lack of transparency around the data being collected.
Facebook Study – what information will and won't be collected?
Here's what you need to know…
Facebook will collect:
- A list of the apps installed on your phone
- The amount of time you spend using each of those apps
- Location data on the country you’re based in
- Info on the device and network you’re using
- App activity names, which can show Facebook the names of app features you’re using
Facebook won’t collect:
- User IDs
- Any content, like photos, videos or messages
The entire concept of Facebook Study might seem ironic, given that Facebook already hoovers up so much data on you anyway.
And some may see it as risky, given Facebook’s track record for data misuse and suffering hack attacks.
In any case, Facebook is at least promising to keep your info safe.
“We have a responsibility to keep people’s information safe and secure,” said Facebook’s Ben-Zedeff.
“With this app, we’re collecting the minimum amount of information needed to help us build better products.
“People often have a lot of apps on their phone, so we’ll periodically remind participants that they are a part of the program.
“They’ll also have the opportunity to review the information they’re sharing with us.”
Facebook also noted that information from the app won’t be sold to third parties, or used to target ads.
Any any info won’t be added to your Facebook account if you have one, either.
That means you won’t actually need a Facebook account to sign up to Facebook Study.
We’ve asked Facebook for more details on compensation and will update this story with any response.
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Would you sign up for this scheme? Let us know in the comments!
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