Facebook is launching a market research app called Study and the social network says it will “pay” users to install and use the app though it’s not clear if it will be cash or, say, gift cards.
In return, users will have to allow Facebook to gather information on how they use other apps on their devices. The company claims this will help it improve its own products and services and the information collected will be minimal.
Information it will gather include time spent on other apps, user’s country, and device and network types, as well as “app activity names” which may reveal the name of the app features being used.
The company promises that it will not collect user IDs, passwords and messages. It also claims that data gathered from Study will not be sold to third parties or used to target ads. However, Facebook says it may partner with other companies to manage the group of paid participants.
Users will also be reminded from time to time that they are part of the Study programme, it claimed.
The app can only be installed via invitation – Facebook says it will be running ads to encourage users to register for the app. Once invited, participants will be able to see the app on the Google Play Store.
Only users aged 18 and above are eligible and the app will initially be made available in the United States and India before being rolled out to other countries.
The company did not reveal the amount of money that users will receive.
Earlier this year, website TechCrunch reported that Facebook secretly ran a programme called Facebook Research where it paid participants up to US$20 (RM83) a month to install an app that allowed the company to gather data from their phones.
At one point Facebook even asked users to screenshot their purchase history on Amazon, according to the article.
The programme began in 2016 with Facebook targeting users aged 13 to 35. Apple told TechCrunch that Facebook violated its policies and banned the app from the Apple App Store in January.