NATIONWIDE – Facebook remains free to use but, as part of a study, some users will be paid not to use it.

What You Need To Know

  • Facebook to pay some users to temporarily deactivate their Facebook and Instagram accounts

  • Part of a study on how social media affects political attitudes and behaviors 

  • Company expects between 200,000 and 400,000 users to participate 

  • Study, to be made public, may also include surveys, company said

In fact, Facebook will pay select users to deactivate their Facebook and Instagram accounts in the weeks leading up to November 3, Election Day. The move is part of a research partnership the social media giant is launching in order to better understand how Facebook and Instagram affect political attitudes and behaviors.

It’s not known how much users will be paid, but Facebook expects between 200,000 and 400,00 adult users to participate.

In a press release, the company wrote, in part:

“… today we are announcing a new research partnership to better understand the impact of Facebook and Instagram on key political attitudes and behaviors during the US 2020 elections, building on the initiative we launched in 2018. It will examine the impact of how people interact with our products, including content shared in News Feed and across Instagram, and the role of features like content ranking systems.”

The study, the company said, could also involve users “taking part in surveys” or agreeing to “see a different product experience.”

Facebook additionally said external researchers won’t be paid and that their findings will be published in academic journals with open access format. The press release continues:

“This research is part of Facebook’s wider effort to protect elections. As a company, we’ve looked hard at what went wrong with Russian interference in 2016 and made some big changes.

“There are now three times as many people working on safety and security issues, more than 35,000 in total, and we work closely with government and law enforcement. Facebook has helped fight interference in more than 200 elections since 2017 and reduced fake news on its platform by more than 50%, according to independent studies.”