Would You Let Facebook Pay to Snoop on You?

John Lister's picture

Facebook is launching an app that tracks what apps users use on their devices. In return, compensation will be provided. Facebook says only users over 18 years of age can take part in the 'research'.

The app is named "Study" and is openly billed as being a "market research tool" for Facebook. It's designed for Facebook to learn more about its users, which the company says will help improve its services.

Study will collect and transmit details of what apps are on the user's phones, how much time they spend using those apps, and - in some cases - what specific featured they access on the apps. It will also tell Facebook what device is being used, which country its in, and what type of network its connected to.

Facebook insists that it won't collect any login details or user content such as photos. It also says it won't connect the collected data to a user's Facebook account or use it for targeted ads. It also says it won't sell any information to third parties - which leaves the possibility it might pass on the information through a different arrangement.

Payment Rate Unconfirmed

The app will initially be available in the US and India. Users will be "compensated" for running the app, but Facebook has yet to confirm how much they'll get. (Source: fb.com)

Only Android users will be able to install the app. That follows previous attempts at market research by Facebook which have been banned by Apple. Its rules prohibit apps which collect details on other apps on a phone for "the purposes of analytics or advertising / marketing." That wording appears to be designed to allow anti-malware apps to examine what is on a phone.

Previous Spy App Tracked Teens

Facebook has restricted the new app to those users that are over the age of 18. This follows controversy over another previous app it released that paid users $20 a month to track activity. That was open to users as young as 13 years old, though Facebook said it had obtained parental consent.

Such research can have major commercial implications. For example, it's reported that Facebook's previous tracking revealed a boom in use of the messaging tool WhatsApp. Shortly after, Facebook bought WhatsApp for $19 billion USD. (Source: sky.com)

What's Your Opinion?

Would you be prepared to use such an app? If so, how much would you have to be paid? Should Google and Apple allow such apps in their official stores?

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Average: 5 (6 votes)


Dennis Faas's picture

With Facebook's track record of improperly handling and leaking data, and with the amount of "spying" and marketing they do, the words "Absolutely no @#(*! way" came to mind when I read the headline. I need this like I need a hole in the head. I'm pretty sure most people would agree with these sentiments.

Navy vet's picture

They have proven that they simply cannot be trusted.

davolente_10330's picture

I have no time for so-called "social media" at all, never having indulged - and NEVER will do! As for this "Study"......well, words fail me, after the well-publicised failings of Facebook in the press for their "poor data handling" techniques. It looks like FB's idea of a joke in poor taste! Anyone who goes down this path must need their head examined. No, no, NO!

kenmckinney_5452's picture

Absolutely not.