Facebook has offered to pay up to $120 for its users to deactivate their accounts, starting late September. The company has estimated that about 400,000 people will participate in this experiment, which is aimed at studying the true impact of social media on the upcoming Presidential elections in the US. This research could cost Facebook roughly around $50 million, which seems like a small price to pay for a brand with a net worth standing tall at $527 billion.
In the past, Facebook’s family of apps have time and again been accused of influencing elections through loose content monitoring, hosting fake news sites and allowing biased advertisements to churn profits. In a bid to alter its image, the social media giant has claimed to be taking several precautionary measures, including this paid account deactivation experiment.
The news about Facebook offering compensation to users ready to deactivate their accounts has been making the rounds on social media since the weekend.
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
Samples from this study will be assessed by independent data scientists and the results will be rolled out in 2021.
“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,” media reports quoted Facebook as describing the plan.
Earlier last week, Zuckerberg announced that the platform will be banning political ads in the week before America’s elections, slated for November, in a bid to restrict the spread of any misinformation.
In the week before the election, we won't accept new political or issue ads. Campaigns will still be able to run ads, like get out the vote efforts, but in the final days of an election there may not be time to contest new claims.— Facebook (@Facebook) September 3, 2020
For any posts from candidates and campaigns that try to declare victory before the final results are in or try to delegitimize the outcome of the election, we'll add a label that directs people to official election results from Reuters and the National Elections Pool— Facebook (@Facebook) September 3, 2020
Presently, the company is facing heat in India after a recent report by the Wall Street Journal accused Facebook of being biased in favour of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).