Earlier this week, Facebook announced that it would partner with outside researchers to determine how its platform could impact the upcoming U.S. presidential election. Of course, this decision comes in the wake of dangerous misinformation spreading like wildfire across the platform during the 2016 election — misinformation that was often intentionally propagated by foreign bad actors.
“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 a blog post announcing the research. “We need to better understand whether social media makes us more polarized as a society.”
However, an intrepid Washington Post reporter named Elizabeth Dwoskin discovered a survey on Instagram asking users how much money they would be willing to receive to deactivate their Facebook or Instagram profiles ahead of the election. These users are being asked to deactivate their accounts anywhere from one to six weeks, with potential payouts of $10, $15 and $20 per week.
This is a dramatic step, and it illustrates just how far Facebook is willing to go to ensure it’s safer this time around. However, it’s more than a little creepy that the social media giant is willing to experiment with users just to figure out where it needs to improve.
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