Udayavni Special

Facebook draws on user data to help battle COVID-19


PTI, Apr 7, 2020, 8:08 AM IST

San Francisco: Facebook on Monday, April 6 said that it is providing anonymous data about users’ movements and relationships to help researchers better anticipate where the coronavirus might spread.

The leading online social network is augmenting maps on “population movement” with tools to glean insights in ways that still protect people’s privacy, according to a post by Facebook head of health KX Jin and Laura McGorman of its Data for Good arm.

“Hospitals are working to get the right resources, and public health systems are looking to put the right guidelines in place,” Jin and McGorman said.

“To do that, they need better information on whether preventive measures are working and how the virus may spread,” they added.

Google last week announced a similar move, saying it would provide a snapshot of users’ location data around the world to help governments gauge the effectiveness of social distancing measures, implemented to stem the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tools that Facebook is providing for researchers include “co-location maps” to show probabilities of people in one specific place coming into contact with those in another, perhaps signaling where new COVID-19 cases might appear.

Data about “movement range” trends will show whether people are staying close to home as advised or venturing to other parts of town, potentially exacerbating coronavirus spread.

Facebook is also providing an index of friendships crossing state or national borders to allow epidemiologists to forecast how the virus might spread given where people might seek support or sanctuary.

“Mobility data from Facebook’s Data for Good program provides a near real-time view of important correlates of disease transmission,” Institute for Disease Modelling senior research manager Daniel Klein said in the post.

“This data, in combination with other sources, allows us to make better models to inform public health decisions.”

Facebook will also display links in news feeds on the platform inviting people to take part in a Carnegie Mellon University survey intended to help researchers monitor and forecast the spread of the virus.
Information about people’s identities would not be disclosed to researchers, the social network promised.

Facebook has struggled in the past with assuaging concerns over how the internet titan handles private user data, particularly after a massive 2018 data breach that exposed millions of users around the world.

If the survey proves to be helpful, Facebook will make similar efforts outside the US, according to Jin and McGorman.

Top News

Karnataka to soon have health register of all citizens

India, China shouldn’t let differences shadow overall ties: Chinese Envoy

Yelahanka flyover row: Kateel hits out at Siddu, HDK

Telangana: Three-year-old boy falls into freshly dug borewell, rescue operations on

India’s GDP growth may rebound to 5% in FY22: Former RBI Guv

No country can stare down Modi’s India: BJP on border standoff with China

Students can give board exams in states they are stuck amid lockdown: Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’

Related Articles More

Amazon provides free COVID-19 health insurance for its sellers

Volkswagen India introduces leasing, flexible financing options to drive sales amid COVID-19

Anant Ambani joins Jio Platforms board as additional director

COVID-19 Impact: India facing worst recession since Independence, says CRISIL

Indian gaming industry attracted $350 mn VC investments between 2014-2020: Report

MUST WATCH

Tragedy and chaos: Former MIA director recalls Mangalore Air Crash

Lockdown relaxation: Long queues outside liquor stores in Mangaluru

Indian Coast Guard thank Covid-19 warriors

#WeFeed – Feeding stray animals during lockdown!

Mysuru-origin doctor honoured with parade for her service in treating COVID-19 patients in US

Latest Additions

Karnataka to soon have health register of all citizens

India, China shouldn’t let differences shadow overall ties: Chinese Envoy

Pak Army claims to shoot down Indian ‘spying quadcopter’ along LoC

10 fresh cases in Kasargod; COVID-19 tally breaches 1000 mark in Kerala

Yelahanka flyover row: Kateel hits out at Siddu, HDK

Thanks for visiting Udayavani

You seem to have an Ad Blocker on.
To continue reading, please turn it off or whitelist Udayavani.