Facebook Helps The Coronavirus Researchers By Launching New Tools Providing The Location Data Of Its Users

  • Facebook is launching three new tools collectively called Disease Prevention Maps to help the researchers overcome the spread of the coronavirus.
  • The new initiative made by the company is part of their ‘Data for Good’ program and the company has added a survey to its News Feed asking the users to report the coronavirus symptoms they are possibly suffering from.

Researchers and health officials around the globe are working to understand the novel coronavirus and to overcome the spread of this virus. Facebook has reached out to help these researchers and is launching new tools that will provide them the location data of Facebook users.

The researchers and some other non-profit organizations working on this aspect have access to the company’s maps on population movements. Facebook increasing its efforts in this space is now launching three new tools that provide the statistics on how the community gestures impact the transmission of this virus among the masses. These tools are mutually known as ‘Disease Prevention Maps’. The tools will be available as co-locations maps, a social connectedness index, and movement range trends and will use average data of the users to protect the privacy of the masses.

The feasibility of masses interacting with each other from different areas will be depicted by the co-location maps and will help the analysts to forecast in which area the next affected case may emerge. While the movement range trends work at the regional level. It would show whether the masses are practicing social distancing by staying at homes or moving around. It will help the officials to measure the effectiveness of lockdowns or other policies implemented to make people stay at home. The social connectedness index will track the friendships and relations of its users across other countries and states. It will help the researchers to manipulate the chances of the virus spreading in other states and countries and will expose which areas may need medical and other aid in the future.

Facebook runs a program called ‘Data for Good’ which aims to provide data and statistics to welfare organizations, analysts, and associations to help them deal with the ongoing issues and to sort out solutions. According to the company, the announcement of the Disease Prevention Maps is part of this program. The company has also started a survey in the United States appearing on the top of the home news feed page of Facebook’s interface. The survey poll managed by Carnegie Mellon University’s Delphi Research Group aims to ask users to report the symptoms of the coronavirus they may be suffering by themselves. The survey will help the company to generate observations displaying the heat maps of the possible infected victims. The company may roll out this survey to other regions of the globe if it finds it helpful for the analysts in the US.

The new initiative is followed by Facebook’s other initiative to help stop the spread of the coronavirus misinformation. The company added ‘Coronavirus Information Center’ providing updates from authorized health officials to its main Facebook App and introduced the ‘Coronavirus Community Hub’ to Messenger which displays tips and resources related to COVID-19.

Read next: Facebook suggests implementing physical distance rather than being socially distant
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