Facebook unveils ‘Study’ app that pays users to share information about the apps they use

Facebook on Tuesday launched a new research app that will pay users for sharing information about how they use apps on their devices. The company claims that this will help them build better products for the Facebook community.

The new app called “Study from Facebook” will collect information about apps installed on a participant’s phone, time spent using those apps, participant’s country, device and network type, and the features the participant is accessing within those apps.

“We believe this work is important to help us improve our products for the people who use Facebook. 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,” Facebook product manager Sagee Ben-Zedeff explained in a company blog post.

Facebook said it will not collect user IDs, passwords or content or content stored on a user’s phone like photos, videos, 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 who share apps usage data with them.

“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. We’re offering transparency, compensating all participants, and keeping people’s information safe and secure,” Sagee added. “We have a responsibility to keep people’s information safe and secure. With this app, we’re collecting the minimum amount of information needed to help us build better products.

Users will also be periodically reminded that they are part of the Study program. “People often have a lot of apps on their phone, so we’ll periodically remind participants that they are a part of the program. They’ll also have the opportunity to review the information they’re sharing with us,” the company claimed.

The app can only be installed via invitation, which means this will only be open to participants who see a Facebook ad encouraging their participation. Once invited, participants will be able to see the app on the Google Play Store.

“As they sign up, people will see a description of how the app works and what information they’ll be sharing with us so they can confirm they want to participate,” Sagee’s explanation continues. “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. This is all accessible before participants provide any market research information to the app.”

Only users aged 18 and above are eligible and the Study app is currently available in the U.S. and India through the Google Play Store for Android users. However, the company will expand the availability of the app to other countries over time.

The company did not reveal how much it will pay to the participants to share their information.