Facebook can’t help being itself, no matter how many times a new leaf will be turned over. If there were any doubts about it, then this new Android and iOS app that has just been launched should be sufficient proof. On the surface, it seems like a harmless survey app that benefits respondents by paying them for their time and effort, but as with anything on Facebook, until it’s too late, we’re never aware of the consequences.
This time, Facebook is at least a little bit more upfront. First, it is publishing the app as Facebook Viewpoints under its name. Second, the surveys are aimed at improving its products, including Facebook itself, Instagram, WhatsApp, and even Oculus. It also admits that it will pay users if they accumulate sufficient points to redeem as cash, not for every survey.
While this time Facebook appears to be doing things by the book, the underlying hypotheses will make privacy advocates queasy. The idea here is the same, more overt, that Facebook is baffling money promise to get people to do what they want.
For its privacy policies, Facebook has been under fire for practically forever, so it’s good to see the company offering you a chance to willingly provide that information, and at least make some money while you’re at it. The company says it won’t sell your viewpoints to third parties or share your business publicly without your permission, but keep in mind that the company doesn’t have a good track record of keeping your data private.
The first study of Facebook Viewpoints is about online well-being for those interested in participating, at least as far as its applications are concerned. It seems that surveys are going to be thematic and organized, so just by addressing one question don’t anticipate an immediate payoff.