Facebook is paying users to log off before the 2020 election

The social media giant is providing incentive for some users to deactivate their accounts ahead of the November 2020 election.

Updated: September 8, 2020 - 5:15pm

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

Facebook is sending out notices to its members offering them money in exchange for temporarily deactivating their accounts, to learn how much the social media site and Instagram factor into users' political decisions.

Users who participate could be paid in increments of $10, $15, or $20 per deactivated week. The study could include 200,000 to 400,000 people, reports Business Insider.

Facebook announced the plan in late August along with plans to initiate the research, saying that some users of both platforms could be hit with “targeted changes,” which may include seeing more or fewer ads of a particular kind, such as retail or politics.

Those users might also see a reduction in ads on their newsfeeds. The project is lead by professors Talia Stroud and Joshua A. Tucker, of the University of Texas at Austin and New York University, respectively. 

Facebook says the researchers will not be paid by Facebook, nor answer to owners.

Facebook also claims that “neither the questions they’ve asked nor the conclusions they draw will be restricted by Facebook.” The researchers themselves have “committed to publish their findings in academic journals in open access format, which means they will be freely available to the public.”