Facebook to Graduate Students: Come help us data mine, boost online advertising, and we will pay your tuition

Facebook’s new academic Fellowship program places the social network along with other companies, such as Google, that like to tap into the “academy,” especially students.  Facebook says every day it “confronts among the most complex technical problems and we believe that close relationships with the academy will enable us to address many of these problems at a fundamental level and solve them.”   Among the areas Facebook wants inexpensive help with is “Data Mining and Machine Learning: learning algorithms, feature generation, and evaluation methods to produce effective online and offline models of behavioral signals.”  There are several other areas of interest, including “Internet Economics: auction theory and algorithmic game theory relevant to online advertising auctions.”

In exchange, Facebook offers to pay tuition, a $30k stipend, a travel allowance, and a chance for a paid summer internship.  The pitch must be endorsed by a faculty member that “clearly identifies the area of focus and applicability to Facebook.”   Our suggestion:  students should apply with projects which hold Facebook more accountable for its privacy and data collection practices.

Author: jeff

Jeff Chester is executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy. A former journalist and filmmaker, Jeff's book on U.S. electronic media politics, entitled "Digital Destiny: New Media and the Future of Democracy" was published by The New Press in January 2007. He is now working on a new book about interactive advertising and the public interest.

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