Facebook is now making another attempt to monitor how you use your phone through a newly-launched app called Study. This time, Facebook will pay you for that.
The social media giant designed the new app from scratch. Its main goal is to monitor which apps you installed on your phone, how much you spent on them, where you are based, the type of your device, and your network type.
For the time being, Study is available for Android users only. It would recruit U.S. and India-based account holders through Facebook ads and would ask them to allow Facebook to collect their extra data in exchange for a monthly payment.
The fact that users cannot voluntarily subscribe for Study aims to keep out grifters and to ensure that studies stay representative of the Facebook database, according to the firm.
The project is now limited to India and the United States but it might expand to other countries too, added from the social media company.
Given the latest privacy scandals around the company, Facebook asserted it would not snoop on user IDs, passwords, photos, videos, and messages. In addition to that, it would also not sell participants' information to third parties.
Although the app would not track any passwords or account IDs, it would send reminders to the people that it is using their data.
In the future, Facebook might also work on an iOS version of the app, the company said without giving any further details on that.
Facebook is launching such a data collecting service for a third time. It started with a research program code-named Atlas which paid users aged 13-35 a monthly fee of up to $20 to keep track of all other platforms they were using.
Facebook kept that quiet until TechCrunch did not reveal it publicly to raise awareness about data privacy of the users. It turned out that Atlas asked the participants to install a VPN that redirected all their data to Facebook, including the browsing history, private messages and shared content, possibly owned by Facebook friends of the participants.
Apple reacted first to disable the Facebook research app saying that it abused the company's internal enterprise certificate program. Soon after that, Facebook killed off the app.
The second project, Onavo also did not live long. It did not pay users but offered them a free VPN. In return, it collected tons of users' data. In February, Facebook announced it would shut it down.
According to Dimitri Sirota, the CEO and co-founder data privacy company BigID, the new Study app is" a mixed bag for transparency." It was a good sign that it is not a secret data tracking campaign but an opt-in and transparent, added Sirota. In his view, the tone and timing are suspicious as the company went transparent after being accused of privacy infringements.
What do you think? If you get recruited by Facebook to take part in the Study app, would you accept the proposal?