Facebook will again start paying people to follow how they use their phone via a new app called Study. The app monitors which apps are installed on a person's phone, how much time it takes to use these apps, the country you are in, and additional app data that may reveal specific features that you use, among other things. However, Facebook says it will not see specific content, including messages, passwords, and websites that you visit.
The launch of the study comes several months after the last user research tracking app, Facebook Research, was closed due to a few controversies: as TechCrunch reported, the app was marketed for teenagers and on the iPhone he relied on a special certificate that allowed the app to bypass the App Store and gain deeper access to the phone, which was against Apple's rules. It was closed in January.
The launch of Study shows that Facebook clearly has the feeling that it still needs this information about how people use their phones, and also that Facebook has learned something from the latest controversy. Study will only be available to people 18 years of age and older (although Facebook does not mention how it will confirm ages); it is only available on Android, where deeper phone access can be granted by each user; and it opens with a series of screens describing what type of data the app collects and how it will be used.
Age of users will be verified by referring to the age on their Facebook account; participants must also have a PayPal account to get paid and PayPal also has a requirement of 18 years and older. Facebook says it refers to other data it knows about you when analyzing data from the app, but data from the app will otherwise not be linked to your account or used to target advertisements to you.
Facebook does not say how much it will pay people to use the app, but a blog post says that "all survey participants are compensated." It will launch in the US and India. Not everyone can register for Study. Facebook doesn't say exactly how you can join – it sounds like the company will target you through an advertisement, and if you see one, you can click to sign up.
A spokesperson declined to comment on how many people will be paid and who will be targeted with invitations to use the Study app. They said the list of information that the app collects is exhaustive and that other information is not collected.