As part of Facebook’s latest research on how social media affects democracy, the company appears to be paying users to cancel its products ahead of the 2020 U.S. presidential election, according to new screenshots released Thursday local time by Washington Post reporter Elizabeth Dwoskin,media reported. Earlier this week, Facebook announced that it would work with outside researchers to study the social impact of its social media products on society during the upcoming U.S. presidential election.
Facebook expects between 200,000 and 400,000 users to opt in to the project. Once they choose to join, the company will see how they interact with the company’s products, including Facebook and Instagram.
“In order to continue to expand the pro-democracy factors on social media and mitigate the pro-democracy factors, we need more objective, sober, experience-based research,” Facebook wrote in a blog post. That’s why today we’re announcing this new research partnership to better understand the impact of Facebook and Instagram on key political attitudes and behaviors during the 2020 U.S. election. “
Screenshots released Thursday by The Washington Post show an Instagram pop-up asking users to choose how much they would like to accept to close their Instagram and Facebook accounts before the election. Facebook offers options of $10, $15 and $20 a week, with some users being asked to stop for a week and others being asked to leave the platform for up to six weeks.
A Facebook spokesman confirmed Thursday that the company will pay users who complete investigations or deactivate as part of the study. Liz Bourgeous, a Facebook spokesman, said on Twitter on Thursday: “Anyone who chooses to join – whether it’s completing the investigation or deactivating the FB or IG for a while – will be compensated.” This is quite standard for such academic research. “
According to Facebook, the company does not expect to release its findings until at least the middle of next year.