Tuesday, 19 November, 2019

Facebook unveils 'Study' market research app, says they'll compensate participants

Facebook wants your data.                  Angela Lang  CNET Facebook wants your data. Angela Lang CNET
Russell Knight | 13 June, 2019, 02:00

Earlier this year, it was revealed that the social media giant was secretly paying people to install a "Facebook Research" Virtual Private Network (VPN) that was letting the company access user's data.

After facing flak for using unethical and discreet ways of collecting user-information, Facebook has chose to pay Android users in India and the U.S. just to monitor how they use their phones.

The market research initiative, called "Study" is a programme that FB is introducing to legally seek information about users' internet browsing and app downloads, as it tries to tune its platforms and apps to current user trends and habits.

"Market research program" is a glorified way of saying "app that steals your data" or "approved malware", but we're not sure those phrases would look good in a press release.

Not everyone can sign up to the system - Facebook is running ads for the program, and if you see one you can register with your information, after which Facebook will choose which applicants are eligible to download the app. "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".

So what is it that Facebook will be needing from you? "We believe this work is important to help us improve our products for the people who use Facebook", wrote Facebook product manager Sagee Ben-Zedeff.

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However, the launch of Study shows that Facebook clearly feels that it still needs this data on how people are using their phones, and that the company has learnt a thing or two from the last controversy, the report added.

Once the app is installed, Facebook will have access to a host of information about the user. Plus, it'll periodically remind users that they're part of the data collection program, so they can change the permissions it uses, or opt out if they no longer wish to participate.

However, Facebook said it could share the fact that a user is participating in the program with "authorized partners" and that it also could share aggregate data with third parties.

Your country, device and network type. Legislation and privacy advocates have already blamed Facebook for quashing competition by acquiring competitors apps and copying features.

Facebook has promised this time that it will not record users' personal data like photos, messages, emails, and passwords. The social media giant has been frowned upon (to put it lightly) for the way it handles user data.

Information obtained from this app will not be sold to third parties or used to target advertisement, Facebook confirmed in the statement.

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