Facebook to share social data on outbreaks with researchers

Facebook Inc. said Monday that it will begin investigating the health of some U.S. users as part of carnegie mellon’s “heat map” project to generate a self-reported new coronavirus infection,media reported. The social media giant will display a link at the top of users’ news feeds to guide them to the survey.

Facebook to share social data on outbreaks with researchers

The researchers say the survey will help them predict where medical resources are needed. Facebook said it could also offer the survey to users in other countries if it worked.

Google, Facebook’s competitor in mobile advertising, last month began conducting user surveys for Carnegie Mellon University’s project through its Award-winning survey app, which allows users to earn app store points.

Facebook to share social data on outbreaks with researchers

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University “will not share their personal findings with Facebook, nor will Facebook share their personal information with researchers,” Facebook said in a blog post.

Facebook to share social data on outbreaks with researchers

The company also said it would begin providing epidemiologists with new categories of data through its Disease Prevention Map program. The program is currently sharing aggregated location data with new crown outbreak partners in 40 countries. The researchers used the data to provide officials in these countries, as well as a few U.S. cities and states, with up-to-date information on people’s movements between different regions.

Facebook to share social data on outbreaks with researchers

In addition to location data, Facebook will also provide a “social connection index” that shows the probability that users in different locations will become Facebook friends with each other, and are summarized by zip code. Laura McGorman, who runs Facebook’s Data For Good project, said the index could be used to assess the impact of the new corona virus on the economy, revealing the communities most likely to get help from neighbouring areas, and those that may need more targeted support.

Facebook to share social data on outbreaks with researchers

In addition, Facebook says the new co-location map could also reveal the possibility of contact between people in different regions.

The above images are from the Facebook blog