Meta to Hand Over Data for Third-Party Research on ‘Well-Being’

A building in the evening shows the Meta logo

In a partnership with the Center for Open Science, Facebook and Instagram parent company Meta revealed it will give data to researchers for a study.

The pilot program will look into “topics related to well-being” and is expected to begin in the coming months.

“Social media companies, like Meta, have an opportunity to contribute to the public’s scientific understanding of how different factors may or may not impact well-being and inform productive conversations about how to help people thrive,” a release from the COS read.

And, yes, to answer the all important question, this data will include information on users. However, Engadget reports that this will be voluntary. Additionally, the release announcing the partnership said, “In sharing any type of user data, Meta and COS will collaborate to implement protective privacy measures.”

“At Meta, we want to do our part to contribute to the scientific community’s understanding of how different factors may or may not relate to people’s well-being,” Curtiss Cobb, Vice President of Research at Meta, said in the release.

“We’re committed to doing this in a way that respects the privacy of people who use our apps. COS has a proven track record of supporting scientific rigor and complex open-science projects, and we look forward to partnering with them on this pilot. We also hope it can provide a model for other companies to take similar steps.”

The news comes amid Meta facing fallout over criticisms that it has not protect young users, something Engadget also points out. The social media tech giant has also been busy rolling out changes, especially ones focused on users under 18, to offer better protections while using its platforms. This includes hiding content deemed “unsafe” and targeting suspicious adult accounts that could harm children.

“This partnership between Meta and COS signifies a significant step towards fostering a culture of openness and collaboration between academia and industry and aims to set new standards for best practices in sharing proprietary data among the research community, ultimately benefiting the public interest,” Tim Errington, COS Senior Director of Research, said in a release.

Image credits: Header photo licensed via Depositphotos.