In brief: Facebook is renewing their efforts to collect user data by paying for it with a new app called Viewpoints. If you don't mind the minor privacy intrusion, you can exchange 15 minutes of your time on surveys to earn a small amount of money.
Facebook is introducing a new dedicated market research app that allows users to participate in surveys and other tasks and rewards them for their involvement. The new app is called Viewpoints, and the social giant says it's going to use it as part of the feedback loop to improve WhatsApp, Instagram, Facebook, as well as products made under the Portal and Oculus brands.
The big promise with Viewpoints is that Facebook will try to be more transparent about what data it collects on its users and exactly how it's being used. The company will ask for information like name, date of birth, gender, email, and the general location where the app will be used.
For those of you who want to participate in the surveys, you'll first need to set up a Viewpoints account, after which you'll be invited to join one of the available programs. Keep in mind that you have to be over 18 years old and a resident of the US, as the company plans to do a staggered rollout to other regions starting next year.
The Viewpoints app is supposed to replace the company's controversial Onavo VPN app that was removed from the Play Store after it was found to collect a lot of information about its users. Apple even revoked Facebook's enterprise developer certificates after it found the company's app not only raised privacy concerns, but also took advantage of a loophole in the App Store's approval process.
And just like Facebook's Study app, the new app will give users rewards for their participation. For example, taking the "Well-Being Survey" will take around 15 minutes and will yield you about 1000 points that translate into $5 payable via PayPal.
The company says it won't sell that information to third-parties and will keep your Viewpoints activity private unless you explicitly allow it to be shared with other people on Facebook.