Facebook on Tuesday announced a brand new app that will let the company collect information on how individuals use their smartphones in exchange for money.
The new app is named Study, and it’s designed to give Facebook information on what apps participants install, how much time they spend on those apps, what features they use on those apps, what country they’re in, and kind of device and network they’re using.
Facebook has a long history of using apps to gather information concerning usage habits in order to improve its own products.
In 2013, Facebook bought a free security app called Onavo, which let users access a virtual private network, or VPN, to browse the web and download apps with a bigger degree of privacy. Facebook used information from Onavo to collect broad information concerning which apps were popular and how people were using them, which it used to improve its own products, however claims it didn’t collect information about individual users.
However, Facebook pulled the app from the App Store in 2018 after Apple reportedly told the corporate that it violated rules then-new rules concerning user privacy. In February of this year, Facebook told TechCrunch it would remove Onavo from Google Play store and shut down the project.
In January, TechCrunch discovered that Facebook was incorrectly using an Apple app certification to run a similar program called Facebook Research. As a result, Apple suspended Facebook from its certification, briefly causing the company’s internal employee apps to break. Facebook stopped recruiting users for Facebook Research earlier this year TechCrunch reported.
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Facebook says the new app, Study, won’t collect information on user IDs, passwords, photos, videos or messages, and that it’ll not sell the information it collects or use it to target ads. The information will be used to help the company build better merchandise, the company said in a blog post.
“Approaching market research in a responsible approach is really important,” the company said in the blog post. “Transparency and handling people’s information responsibly have guided how we’ve built Study from Facebook.”
The app will first be available to users in the U.S. and India. The company didn’t specify exactly how much money users will receive in exchange for their participation aside from “anyone who uses the app will be compensated for contributing to the research.”