Facebook announced that it is launching a new market research app called Study from Facebook. The social media giant, which has come under fire for its handling of user data, has vowed that the app will be used responsibly.
"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," wrote Sagee Ben-Zedeff, product manager at Facebook, in a blog post.
Ben-Zedeff explained that Facebook will run ads to encourage people to participate in the program. If they qualify, they will then be directed to download the app.
"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 [that] they want to participate," added Ben-Zedeff. "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. Anyone who uses the app will be compensated for contributing to the research. Only people who are 18 and older will be eligible to participate at launch, and all participants will be able to opt out at any time."
The company is collaborating on the project with long-time partner Applause, which will manage the registration process, compensation to participants and customer support.
Facebook vowed to collect the minimum amount of data needed, and will periodically remind people that they are part of the program, as well as allow them to review the information they’re sharing with the company. As part of the program, Facebook will collect such information as the apps installed on a participant’s phone and the amount of time spent on them; the participant’s country, device and network type; and app activity names.
The market research app will not collect any of the participants’ user IDs, passwords or data content. None of the information will be sold to third parties or used to target ads.
"Approaching market research in a responsible way is really important," noted Ben-Zedeff. "Transparency and handling people’s information responsibly have guided how we’ve built Study from Facebook. We plan to take this same approach going forward with other market research projects that help us understand how people use different products and services."