Facebook just started a new initiative in which they are paying users to log off and remain inactive on the platform right before the 2020 election. For those selected users, a $120 prize is waiting if you deactivate by the end of September.
Liz Bourgeois, an official Facebook spokesperson stated, “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 internal statistical data, Facebook expects about 200,000-400,000 users to participate. This incentive coincides with unprecedented political bantering from both parties primarily over social media.
What it means
Facebook released a statement detailing how they’ll choose participants. The statement reads, “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 on Facebook or Instagram inviting them to take part in the study.”
The company statement continues, “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.”
Once the survey is complete, Facebook is going to release the results sometime next year. The social platform further elaborated on the survey. “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,” they explained.
Basically, Facebook is gauging what percentage of their users want political discussions to take place on the platform. With so much rhetoric spewed daily on television and the Internet, it’s difficult to decipher between what is true and false.
Independent data scientists are conducting research so that users will receive an unbiased opinion. Just last Thursday, Mark Zuckerberg announced that all new political ads will be banned on the platform the week before the election. The aim of this is to help prevent misinformation and confusion about news surrounding political figures.
Facebook is one of the largest, if not the largest, social media platform available. Due to its massive presence, it’s refreshing to see that the company is taking steps to recognize how much power they have over the current political climate.
What to expect
The 2020 Presidential election is just around the corner and an increase in political dialogue on social media is only going to increase. Facebook is the major player that it is understood that practical steps towards creating a healthier dialogue are absolutely necessary.
As users are still being selected to participate in the “log-off” initiative, it will be interesting to see what the results show. Logging off of social media in itself is difficult for many people, so adding a price incentive was a smart move by Facebook.
When you log in to Facebook or Instagram, you’ll see an invitation to participate. Whether you decide to or not is completely up to you.