This isn't the first time that Facebook has turned up to special apps to gather user data beyond what it can grab through its social networks. Through a new app, Study by Facebook, the company plans to actually give users money in exchange for their data. Sound good to you? For now, the app will only be available in the USA and India. Facebook is promoting the program by running ads asking people to participate.
The new app, called Study, collects data on which apps its participants are using on their phones, for how long they are using them and what activities they do on the apps.
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. Turns out, using this now-defunct app, Facebook obtained personal and sensitive device data of some 187,000 users in total, of which, 156,000 were Indians.
"Approaching market research in a responsible way is really important".
Essentially, it's market research to see how Facebook can have an edge over other social networking mobile apps.
However, the company said in an official statement that the app does not collect user IDs, passwords and other content on the participant's phone such as photos, videos, or messages.
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The program is managed by a third party - Facebook's long-time partner Applause.
With a program like this, especially coming from Facebook, the company realizes the privacy concerns that come with it and has addressed them on its news page. The user's age will be cross-checked by referencing the age on their Facebook account.
Despite already generating a dumb amount of revenue per individual user thanks to the information they freely share of Facebook's suite of apps, the data glutton appears eager to pay for some of the valuable information about them that it doesn't already have.
The app will be only available to people in the US and India and will expand to other countries over time.
At least this time around Facebook is being transparent will efforts to collect data from users and there's no non-disclosure agreement in the mix where users can't talk about their participation in the program.
The user's country, device and network type.