The Latest Facebook Experiment? You'll Try Slingshot App, Get Paid (Also, Informed!)

Remember when Facebook turned users into study subjects involuntarily by manipulating their news feeds so that they could study "emotional contagion"? If the answer is yes, then you probably also remember the backlash that it stirred and the company's weird, kinda patronizing apology. Well, they could be making up for it all now: Facebook is offering users $200 just to use Slingshot, the social media giant's version of Snapchat. The participants will help Facebook improve Slingshot, perhaps by finding new ways to set itself apart from the original ephemeral-photo-sharing app.

For the most part, Slingshot is a pretty straightforward photo-centric social media app. Users can take photos and videos, add on fun captions and drawings, and send to friends. But the distinguishing feature that keeps it from being a Snapchat clone is reciprocity — you can't see what your friends send until you send something back, and vice versa.

This unique characteristic is meant to discourage users from using the app to sext, which is what Snapchat is generally used for and associated with. Instead, Slingshot is about creating. "It's an app where everybody's a creator and nobody's just a spectator," Will Ruben, Slingshot's product manager, told Engadget.

Apparently, the existent features of Slingshot aren't good enough as they are.

It's safe to assume that the company doesn't want a repeat of its first Snapchat-inspired app, Poke, which failed to catch on and quietly disappeared into wherever apps go to die. Hence Facebook's new study, which must be a priority if it's incentivizing users to participate.

Facebook wrote in its official Slingshot blog

Calling all Slingshot fans! Join our hand-picked group working to make the app more awesome.

According to the recruitment page, the study will take three months to complete, and only requires one to two hours of the volunteer's time per week. At the end, they will earn "at least $200." Doesn't sound like a bad deal.

If you're interested in signing up, all you have to do is fill out a short survey, which includes questions like "How frequently do you use Slingshot?", "How many people do you sling with regularly?", and "If you could change anything about Slingshot, what would you change?"

Other than that, users will presumably have to test out new features and give their feedback for the study. The study seems to be a pretty win-win deal for people who already use Slingshot. If you were going to sit on your couch and take selfies with your cat to send to your friends anyway, you might as well make some extra cash while you're at it.

Images: slingshotcrew/Instagram