Facebook will now pay you to give it information in new Viewpoints app

Facebook has released a new market research app which will pay users for taking part in surveys. ‘Viewpoints’ appears to avoid many of the same controversies which forced Facebook to shut down its Facebook Research VPN earlier this year.
Facebook Viewpoints
Facebook Viewpoints will pay users to provide information about how and why they use various Facebook products. Photo: Facebook

Yesterday Facebook announced a new app which it says “rewards people for participating in surveys, tasks and research.”

A press release published yesterday by the social media giant details the features of its new ‘Viewpoints’ app.

The information provided by Facebook Viewpoints account holders when they take part in ‘programmes’ will be used to improve Facebook products including Instagram, WhatsApp, Oculus and, of course, Facebook itself.

For now, Facebook Viewpoints will only be available to US Facebook users who are 18 years of age or older. Facebook says it hopes to make the service available in more countries as of next year.

The first ‘programme’ Viewpoints users will be able to take part in is the Well-Being Survey. Through this survey, Facebook aims to gain a deeper understanding of how social media can negatively impact people’s lives.

According to TechCrunch, participants in the Well-Being Survey can expect to earn the equivalent of $5 for around 15 minutes of their time.

How will Facebook Viewpoints work?

When signing up for a Facebook Viewpoints account, users will have to provide standard information such as date of birth, email address, gender etc.

To take part in some programmes, Facebook says additional information, such as location may be required.

Facebook HQ
Facebook Viewpoints will only be available in the US for now. Photo: Marco Paköeningrat via Flickr

Once users have signed up for an account and provided their personal information, they will be invited to take part in various programmes.

Because each programme is aimed at different Facebook products and different demographic groups, they all gather different information about users. Before taking part in programmes, users will be told exactly which information will be collected.

Upon completing programmes, users will then earn points which can be redeemed for real money. Facebook says that users will need to collect a certain number of points before they can redeem them for a cash payment into their PayPal account.

What is the point of Facebook Viewpoints?

Information about how and why people use an app or product is very valuable for companies. It allows them to develop and refine their products using feedback from users themselves. In fact, this sort of information is so valuable that companies are willing to pay for it.

Facebook is far from the first company for pay people for information about how and why they use products.

The Facebook Wall
Information helps Facebook refine its products. Photo: DigitalRalph via Flickr

Google’s Opinion Rewards and Google Surveys programmes work on pretty much the same concept. Unlike these Google products, Facebook Viewpoints appears to be targeted towards information about Facebook products only.

Facebook has tried to set up its own market research platforms in the past, but they have been surrounded in controversy following accusations of misuse of information. This time it looks like Facebook is attempting to take a more honest approach.

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