Why Facebook will pay tens of thousands of users to leave the social network

Facebook will pay users of its main platform and Instagram as part of a study leading up to the 2020 U.S. election, Washington Post reporter Elizabeth Dwoskin reported Thursday. On Monday August 31, Facebook announced its intentions regarding this study, a partnership with 17 external university researchers which aims to “better understand the impact of Facebook and Instagram on major political attitudes and behavior”.

“She will examine the impact of the way people interact with our products, including the content shared in News Feed and across Instagram, and the role of certain features like content ranking systems,” said the society, asking some Facebook and Instagram users to deactivate their accounts or to agree to “targeted changes” to their experiences before the November election and through December.

Elizabeth Dwoskin took screenshots of notifications sent this week to some Instagram users asking how much they should be compensated for deactivating their account, giving them a choice of $ 10, $ 15, or $ 20 per week. Facebook predicts that between 200,000 and 400,000 people will participate eventually.


“Anyone who chooses to participate, whether by completing surveys or turning off their FB or IG for a period of time, will be compensated. It’s pretty standard for this type of academic research,” the door said. word of Facebook, Liz Bourgeois, in a tweet in response to the journalist.
Facebook does not pay the researchers who initiated the study. The company said it has taken a number of steps to ensure that they are able to carry out their work independently. She said she won’t restrict what questions researchers ask, or what they publish. Facebook also said it will release the study’s initial hypotheses once the results are public so other researchers can check for errors and confirm the results have not been withheld.
However, the company said it could take researchers “several months to properly analyze all the data” and that it does not expect them to release the results until “mid-2021 at the earliest.” .
For researchers, Facebook has yet to show its white paw
Facebook has faced criticism from researchers in the past – including some of those involved in the current study – for its reluctance to release data.

The 2020 Election Study builds on an initiative Facebook launched in 2018, in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, to share more information with academics. But last fall, BuzzFeed News and The New York Times both reported that researchers involved in the project were increasingly frustrated by Facebook’s delays in providing them with data and complained that the company was consistently providing them with less. than what they had requested, citing confidentiality concerns.

“[Facebook has] certainly launched some great scholars on the matter; but at the end of the day, they are still waiting to prove themselves,” David Lazer told BuzzFeed News at the time. This political and computer science professor at Northeastern University is currently working on the study of the 2020 elections.

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