It’s pay to not play.
Facebook is offering users money to refrain from using the site and Instagram in the weeks leading up to the bitterly contested November elections.
To assess the impact of social media on voting, the company will pay selected members up to $120 to deactivate their accounts beginning at the end of September.
“Anyone who chooses to opt-in – whether it’s completing surveys or deactivating FB or IG for a period of time – will be compensated,” Facebook spokesperson Liz Bourgeois tweeted last week. “This is fairly standard for this type of academic research.”
The Silicon Valley giant said it expects 200,000 to 400,000 people to take part.
“Representative, scientific samples of people in the US will be selected and invited to participate in the study. Some potential participants will see a notice in Facebook or Instagram inviting them to take part in the study,” Facebook said. “Study samples will be designed to ensure that participants mirror the diversity of the US adult population, as well as users of Facebook and Instagram.”
The results of the study are expected to be released sometime next year.
“To continue to amplify all that is good for democracy on social media, and mitigate against that which is not, we need more objective, dispassionate, empirically grounded research,” Facebook said in describing the plan.
The research will be carried out by independent data scientists, company officials said.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced last Thursday that he was banning new political ads in the week before the election to curb misinformation.