Facebook and privacy don’t really fit together in the same sentence. The social media giant has again been paying people to monitor how they use their smartphones. The company is doing this using an app called Study. Using the app, Facebook will monitor which apps the user has and how much time the user spends on those apps. The app will also collect some additional data including the user’s location, some specific features they use and more. The social media giant has clarified that it would not see any specific content like messages, passwords and websites that are being visited by the user.
We should mention that Study has been launched a few months after the company’s last user-tracking research app, Facebook Research, was closed down after a string of controversies. According to a report that had surfaced online, the app was marketed to teens. The iOS versions of the app had a special certificate because of which the company felt free to circumvent the App Store and get more access to the smartphone of the user. This was a clear violation of Apple’s rules. Facebook Research was then closed down in January.
With the launch of Study, Facebook has made it clear that it still needs data on how people are using their smartphones. In addition to this, it is also easy to see that the company has learned something from the recent controversy as Study will only be available for people who are at least 18 years in age. This time, the app will only be targeted at Android users and they will be able to grant the app deeper phone access. The app also has a series of screens that explain what kind of data it will be collecting and exactly how it will use it.
Users on the app will only be verified via the age that they have mentioned on their Facebook account. In order to get payments, they would also need a PayPal account. Facebook has also mentioned that it would not be linking the data it collects from Study app to the user’s account on its platform or target ads to him/her.
However, as of now, Facebook has also not specified how much it will be paying people to use the app. But then, the company has said on its blog post that “all research participants are compensated.” The app will be launched in the United States and India. Another thing worth mentioning is that not everyone can sign up for Study. Facebook will show the ad of the app to some users and they will have to click to sign up for it.
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