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Facebook Will Pay You To Let It Track What You Do On Your Phone


Facebook wants to know as much about you as possible—if you let it.

This week, the social giant launched a new app-based market research program called Study from Facebook. If you participate, you’ll get paid to run an app on their your phone that tracks what other apps you installed and how you’re using them — while some of the details of Facebook’s program are up in the air, including the all-important price of your phone usage data, you should probably err on the side of “not participating” if you see an ad for the study pop up during your regular use of the Facebook app.

“We’ve learned that what people expect when they sign up to participate in market research has changed, and we’ve built this app to match those expectations,” Facebook product manager Sagee Ben-Zedeff explained in a company blog post today. “We’re offering transparency, compensating all participants, and keeping people’s information safe and secure.”

“As they sign up, people will see a description of how the app works and what information they’ll be sharing with us so they can confirm they want to participate,” Sagee’s explanation continues. “We also notify users on the Study from Facebook website and in the Play Store description about what information we collect and how it will be used. This is all accessible before participants provide any market research information to the app.”

Facebook doesn’t specify how much it will pay users, and it appears that this will only be open to users who see a Facebook and encouraging their participation. Sagee explains that once you click on the ad, you’ll have an opportunity to register and then, if qualified, to download the Study app from Google Play Store—The company promises that it will periodically remind users that they’ve agreed to be part of this study, in case they’ve forgotten that Facebook is still peeking over their shoulder. Also, here’s what data the app will collect, per Sagee’s post:

  • The apps installed on a user’s phone
  • The amount of time spent using those apps
  • The user’s country, device and network type
  • And “app activity names, which may show us the names of app features participants are using”

The Study app, meanwhile, also says it will not collect any sensitive user IDs, passwords or content stored on a user’s phone like photos, videos, and messages. The question, of course, is how many people actually trust a guarantee like that from Facebook?

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