In order to mete out the extent to which its role affects the elections, Facebook has rolled out a research in which the company will pay some of its users to log off before the September elections.
In a bid to assess the impact of social media on democratic voting, the company will pay selected members up to $120 to deactivate their accounts beginning at the end of September, according to new screenshots posted by Washington Post reporter Elizabeth Dwoskin on Thursday.
The screenshots posted by reporter Dwoskin on Twitter revealed an Instagram pop-up asking users to select how much money they’d be willing to receive in order to deactivate their Instagram and Facebook accounts ahead of the election. Facebook gives the options of $10, $15, and $20 per week as some users would be asked to deactivate for one week while others could be asked to leave the platform up to six weeks total.
The company had also declared in August, that it would curb the propagation of fake news and politically nefarious posting by disbanding Facebook ads a week before the elections. Earlier this week, Facebook also announced that it was partnering with researchers to study the impact its social media products have on society during the upcoming US presidential election. Facebook expects around 200,000 to 400,000 users will opt into the project. Once they’ve opted in, the company will be able to see how they interact with its products, including both Facebook and Instagram.
Explaining this move in a Blog Post on, Facebook claimed, “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. That’s why 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.”
A Facebook spokesperson confirmed that the company would be paying users who complete surveys or deactivate as part of its research. Liz Bourgeous said in a tweet, “Anyone who chooses to opt-in – whether it’s completing surveys or deactivating FB or IG for a period of time – will be compensated. This is fairly standard for this type of academic research.”
According to Facebook, the research will be carried out by independent, non-partisan data scientists, and that the company doesn’t expect to release the findings of its research until at least the middle of next year.