Facebook has been sharing our data for months to help study income inequality

22 02 2018

Facebook has agreed to give a hotshot Stanford economist unprecedented access to its internal data as a way to better understand income disparity in the United States.

According to Politico, which first broke the news on Tuesday morning, the investigation will be led by Raj Chetty, who won a 2012 MacArthur Genius grant and is well-known for his analysis of America’s social and economic problems. Facebook did not immediately respond to Ars’ request for comment, but the company “confirmed the broad contours of its partnership with Chetty” to Politico.

“We’re using social networks, and measuring interactions there, to understand the role of social capital much better than we’ve been able to,” Chetty told the political news site in January.

It is not clear exactly what data Facebook has made available to Chetty and his researchers or how personal and private information would be protected. The study has apparently been already underway for at least six months, however.

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