Digital platforms offer a host of applications that facilitate connections in large-scale two-sided markets, both with and without money. People use Instagram to see interesting new content from creators, and creators use it to reach global audiences. Shops on Facebook and Instagram offer innovative new ways for businesses to reach an interested user base, and Facebook Marketplace can be used to directly connect local buyers and sellers. Finally, businesses use Meta’s advertising products to reach interested audiences for goods and services that the businesses offer.
An important concern when facilitating billions of matches between the two sides of a market, is whether in aggregate the outcome is desirable or fair. For example, content on social issues may predominantly see distribution amongst audiences with higher affinity to the position in the content. As a result, someone may not see diverse content represented in their social media feed. On the other side of the market, a popular creator on Instagram may see a lot of traffic because the content is known to be good, which may make it difficult for new creators to build and connect with an audience.
Defining appropriate notions of fairness in these contexts is an important but challenging problem. Beyond defining the right definition of fairness, algorithms that do matchings in these large-scale markets are by necessity distributed and can only make local decisions about matches, whereas the properties of fairness one often cares about are global in nature.
To foster further innovation in this area, and to deepen our collaboration with academia, Meta is pleased to invite faculty to respond to this call for research proposals pertaining to the aforementioned topics. We anticipate awarding a total of three awards, each in the $50,000 range. Payment will be made to the proposer's host university as an unrestricted gift.
University of California, Berkeley
Applications Are Currently CLosed
Areas of interest include, but are not limited to, the following:
1. Definitions of fairness
2. Decentralized algorithms
3. Analysis of equilibria
4. Empirical work
While all of these can be studied for generic notions of large-scale two-sided markets (with or without money), they may also be tailored to specific application areas such as content creation markets, eCommerce markets, advertising markets, dating markets, blood donation markets, job listing markets, and others.
Most of the RFP awards are an unrestricted gift. Because of its nature, salary/headcount could be included as part of the budget presented for the RFP. Since the award/gift is paid to the university, they will be able to allocate the funds to that winning project and have the freedom to use as they need. All Meta teams are different and have different expectations concerning deliverables, timing, etc. Long story short – yes, money for salary/headcount can be included. It’s up to the reviewing team to determine if the percentage spend is reasonable and how that relates to the decision if the project is a winner or not.
We are flexible, but ideally proposals submitted are single-spaced, Times New Roman, 12 pt font.
Research awards are given year-round and funding years/duration can vary by proposal.
Yes, award funds can be used to cover a researcher’s salary.
Budgets can vary by institution and geography, but overall research funds ideally cover the following: graduate or post-graduate students’ employment/tuition; other research costs (e.g., equipment, laptops, incidental costs); travel associated with the research (conferences, workshops, summits, etc.); overhead for research gifts is limited to 5%.
Co-PIs are welcome! One person will need to be the primary PI (i.e., the submitter that will receive all email notifications); however, you’ll be given the opportunity to list collaborators/co-PIs in the submission form. Please note in your budget breakdown how the funds should be dispersed amongst PIs.
Absolutely. We welcome submissions from collaborators/co-PIs at the same or different institutions. (See FAQ above for co-PI submission form instructions.) Please note, payment will be made to the primary PI’s host institution. It can be further disbursed by that institution.
As mentioned above, we welcome submissions from multiple co-PIs from the same or different institutions on a single proposal. All names and institutions will be named as part of the award communication on the Meta Research website; however, the full amount of the award payment will be made to the primary PI’s host institution and can be further disbursed by that institution.
Generally, RFP winners that are awarded as gifts will be provided a standard Meta-branded gift letter requiring signature from an authorized university representative in order to initiate the payment process. University representatives, administrators, or other partners with an interest in the specific terms can review below. The gift letter contains standard terms and conditions included in all Meta gift letters with academics, such as:
Meta’s decisions will be final in all matters relating to Meta RFP solicitations, including whether or not to grant an award and the interpretation of Meta RFP Terms and Conditions. By submitting a proposal, applicants affirm that they have read and agree to these Terms and Conditions.
Applicants acknowledge and agree that by submitting an application they are consenting to their name, institution / organization’s name and proposal title being made public on Meta’s blog on the research.facebook.com website if they are chosen as an RFP winner or finalist. If an applicant is selected as a winner or finalist, they will then have the opportunity to provide written notification that they do not consent to the research.facebook.com blog inclusion.