In brief: Facebook wants to know if it has any influence over your voting selections. It is asking users to help conduct a study by answering surveys and deactivating their accounts at least a month before the upcoming election. It is even willing to pay you up to $20 per week to participate.
Facebook is going to pay users to log out of their Facebook and Instagram accounts in the weeks leading up to the 2020 presidential election in November. The effort is part of an academic study on how much influence social media has on democratic elections.
The research will be conducted by "independent data scientists," and Facebook expects anywhere from 200,000 to 400,000 participants. Users opting-in to the study will receive up to $120 for deactivating their accounts starting at the end of September.
So Facebook is now going to pay people to deactivate their IG and FB accounts before Election Day. It’s part of the research experiment announced Monday but WOW. This notice went out this week. pic.twitter.com/tV7DAw8F5I— Elizabeth Dwoskin (@lizzadwoskin) September 3, 2020
"Anyone who chooses to opt in – whether it's completing surveys or deactivating FB or IG for a period of time – will be compensated," said spokesperson Liz Bourgeois in a tweet last week. "This is fairly standard for this type of academic research."
Facebook initially announced the study initiative in late August, but it slipped under most people's radar until users began receiving invitations this week (above).
As for whether you will get selected or not, don't hold your breath. Facebook says, "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," meaning participants are going to be hand-selected. With only 400,000 picked out of a couple hundred million, chances of being one are relatively slim and subject to elimination based on demographic criteria.
The results of the study are expected to be published sometime in 2021.