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Facebook to reportedly pay users to deactivate their accounts leading up to the 2020 election

Users will be chosen by Facebook to mirror the voter base as accurately as possible

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Photo (c) Pornpak Khunatorn - Getty Images
Facebook is determined to make sure that any problems it experienced during the 2016 election don’t happen again in 2020.

The company announced earlier this month that it will stop running political ads the week before the November 3 election, and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has also published a manifesto to ensure that the platform keeps its nose clean. Now, on top of those efforts, the company is primed to pay users to log off before the upcoming election.

According to multiple reports, Facebook is looking for 200,000 to 400,000 users to take part in a study to gauge the impact of social media on voting. The platform will purportedly pay “selected members” up to $120 to deactivate their Facebook (FB) and Instagram (IG) accounts at the end of September, and the study will be published sometime 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,” Facebook said in describing the plan. To add to the objectivity of the research, the external researchers won’t be paid by Facebook and they won’t answer to Facebook either.

How do you sign up?

If you’re hoping to snare an extra $120, be patient. This is a don’t-call-us-we’ll-call-you deal. Facebook says it’s modeling study samples to give the survey the best chance of being scientifically accurate and representative of the U.S. adult population. 

The company said that “representative, scientific samples of people in the US” will see a notice in either Facebook or Instagram inviting them to participate. 

“Anyone who chooses to opt-in – whether it’s completing surveys or deactivating FB or IG for a period of time – will be compensated,” Facebook spokesperson Liz Bourgeois tweeted. 

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