It was only a matter of time before Facebook wanted some more of your data. In this case, it is hard to hold it against the popular social media network. Facebook is working with the researchers at Carnegie Mellon University Delphi Research Center for a new survey which is rolling out for Facebook users in the US at this time. It is called Data For Good. The idea is for users to voluntarily report their health conditions and any possible symptoms of the Coronavirus, or COVID-19. This data will allow researchers to not only track the spread of the virus, but also map out possible future spread. They take pains to reassure everyone that the data will remain anonymous.
Users in the US will now see this survey on the top of their Facebook news feed when they open the app. They also go on to say that the CMU Delphi researchers will not share back any data with Facebook and will also not reach out for any identifier data from the social network. The tools include co-location maps which illustrate how people living in different areas are coming in contact with each other, movement range trends that indicate whether people are staying home or going out and a social connectedness index.
“Our Disease Prevention Maps are aggregated sets of information that health researchers can use to better understand how population dynamics influence the spread of disease. Researchers and health experts around the world have advocated for more of this information to respond to the pandemic,” say KX Jin, Head of Health, and Laura McGorman, Data for Good. Since the onset of the Coronavirus pandemic, Facebook has worked with Harvard School of Public Health in the US, National Tsing Hua University in Taiwan, University of Pavia in Italy, as well as non-profit organizations including Direct Relief, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the World Bank to help with data sharing to counter the spread of the virus.