Facebook to pay users who allow access to phone data

Facebook introduces ‘Study from Facebook’ app in India will compensate participants for sharing their app activity data

Facebook said it would "collect and analyse" information, that would include apps installed on a participant's phone, the amount of time spent using those apps, and the user's country, device and network type. The app will be used to help the company conduct market research and all participants will be paid.

Soon, you can earn while you browse, provided you are willing to share your internet browsing history and app data with Facebook. Anyone over the age of 18 who uses the app will be compensated for contributing to the research; and real-world testing specialist Applause will manage the registration process, all compensation to participants, and customer support. The mobile app will, on the other hand, will be looking into what apps a user has installed, how time a user spends on a particular app and app activity names - basically, the kind of the actions you're performing within an app.

Facebook says that the program is created to help it to "learn which apps people value and how they're used" so that the company can "build better products for the Facebook community".

The app will only initially be available to people in the USA and India. While the terms surveillance and Facebook have often been used together in the past, stirring all sorts of controversies, the company has launched a new program called Study from Facebook that's slightly different from Facebook Research, discovered a few months ago.

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Facebook explicitly says it won't be collecting private information like passwords and card details, so that should provide a sense of security.

Facebook has been under intense scrutiny over its data practices following a number of high-profile data privacy incidents in recent years, including the Cambridge Analytica scandal, in which up to 87 million people are believed to have had their data harvested by the political consultancy via a personality quiz app. This is, by its very definition, the objective of market research. The rest of the collected data came from users in India.

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. 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.

In any case, one thing the app is sure to do is give Facebook more insight into personal data and use of not only its own services, but others as well.

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