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Facebook launches app that will pay users for their data

Facebook announced on Tuesday that they’re finding users to download their new app, Study, from the Google Play store. The app transmits data to Facebook on what apps are on your phone, in addition to how you use them and how much time you spend with them.

Why would anyone do this? Well, Facebook is looking to pay users, who can sign up as long as they are over the age of 18.

This magic 18 age is crucial. Facebook was previously using an app called Facebook Research, which paid users between the ages of 13 and 35 $20 a month to track all the activity on their phone, something that riled up privacy advocates and saw Apple cracking down on Facebook, removing those apps.

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This is — on Facebook’s part — a more transparent approach to collecting user data for research, although tellingly it isn’t available for iOS devices. Apple’s terms and condition for the iOS App Store does specifically state that gathering “information about which other apps are installed on a user’s device for the purposes of analytics or advertising/marketing” is a big no-no.

“We believe this work is important to help us improve our products for the people who use Facebook,” Facebook said in a post unveiling Study.

“We also know that this kind of research must be clear about what people are signing up for, how their information will be collected and used, and how to opt out of the research at any time.”

Looking to get involved? Currently, the app is only running in India and the US, and if you see an ad for Study you just have to click it to have the option to take part. Reimbursement hasn’t yet been outlined, other than a plain statement that “all research participants are compensated.” Still, if privacy is worth less than you than cold hard cash, Facebook has the answer. 

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